UK Police may ban future marches to prevent disorder

Police may ban anti-Government marches through central London to prevent further disorder and strain on officer numbers.

Martin Beckford, Heidi Blake and Steven Swinford

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, said that outlawing the demonstations was an option for the authorities but conceded it could anger protestors further.

He admitted he was “very worried” about the effect on law and order in town centres and suburbs caused by large numbers of officers being sent to the centre of the capital.

Despite widespread criticism over the policing of the protests, and warnings that the Met’s tactics risk leading to the death of an innocent bystander, Sir Paul said he was proud of the professionalism of the 3,000 officers on duty last week.

It emerged that 182 people, most aged between 17 and 25, have been arrested in four demonstrations against state spending cuts and the planned rise in university tuition fees over the past month, with many of them described as ordinary students who did not set out to take part in riots and had not been in trouble before.

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