Children march against smacking

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More than 100 children and teenagers from across England were to march on Downing Street today to call for a ban on smacking.

The youngsters will hand in a letter and cards to Prime Minister Tony Blair demanding legislation to end all physical punishment.

The protest has been organised by Article 12, a young people's organisation dedicated to promoting children's rights to expression.

Steering committee member James Anderson, 16, from Newcastle, said: "Physical punishment of children including smacking should not be seen to be acceptable in the eyes of the law.

"It is wrong to hit a child as a form of punishment."

The demonstration comes after the Government published proposals earlier this year to tighten the law on assaults on children.

However the proposals have been criticised by children's rights campaigners for stopping short of an outright ban on smacking.