WTO Protest: Six charged after clashes in London as virtual sit-in starts

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The Independent Online
SIX PEOPLE, including a law student, have been charged in connection with the protest in London on Tuesday against the World Trade Organisation (WTO) summit in Seattle.

Three of them appeared in court yesterday. In all, 40 people were arrested and 11 injured in the demonstration in which riot police fought running street battles with protesters near Euston station.

Three police officers were injured. One, aged 32, remains in hospital. But Scotland Yard and City of London police claimed the operation, which involved a thousand officers and cost some pounds 1.5m, was a success.

Senior officers also said that both left and right-wing extremists were at the heart of the disturbances and may try to carry out "wildcat" actions in the near future. It also emerged that an anarchist group based in Britain is conducting a "virtual sit-in" to disrupt the WTOsummit, which is scheduled to finish tomorrow. The so-called Electrohippies say they are attempting to block the flow of information at the US summit by overloading the WTO's website with electronic junk mail. In a statement the group, which described itself as an informal group of computer specialists and environmental campaigners, claimed initial success.

A London police officer injured in the protests remained in St Thomas's Hospital last night with spinal injuries after being hit with a metal bin. Constable Paul Squires had rejoined police lines after hisinjury. "You've just got to get on with the job. I was more concerned for my colleagues." He said the bin, thrown by a protester, hit him on the back of the neck. "I thought it was just cramp but when I took off my helmet, there was something wrong. I immediately felt sick."

Three people appeared in Highbury Corner Magistrates Court yesterday on charges in connection with the protest. Clare Woolston, 19, a student at King's College London, pleaded not guilty to assaulting police and was bailed to appear on 15 December. Keith Spence, 23, from Clapham, southwest London, and Gareth Williams, 20, of no fixed abode, appeared on charges of violent disorder. Spence was remanded in custody until Wednesday. Williams was bailed until 15 December.

John Williams, 26, from Brixton, southwest London, charged with disorderly behaviour, is due to appear next Wednesday. Paul Robinson, 31, from north London, charged with violent disorder and assault, will appear next Thursday and Mauro Impearato, from east London, charged with violent disorder, will appear on 10 December.