32 arrested in London as riot police clash with anti-G8 protesters

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 June, 2013, 1:31am

Riot police clashed with anti-capitalist protesters in running confrontations through the streets of central London and arrested 32 people as activists targeted some of the world's biggest companies before next week's G8 summit.

About 100 protesters gathered outside oil company BP's headquarters, while others chanted "war criminals" at the office of US defence company Lockheed Martin yesterday.

Police used chainsaws to break into a four-storey block in the Soho district where the StopG8 protest group had been staying before a "Carnival Against Capitalism" to coincide with the G8 meeting in Northern Ireland.

Aerial footage showed a man on the building's flat roof confront three police officers and charge towards the edge before being wrestled to the ground.

Several more police, some wearing abseiling ropes, rushed over to restrain him, inches from the roof's edge. More officers carried away the man, who appeared to have a bloody face.

The rooftop drama came as other protesters - who had threatened to target hedge funds, banks and multinationals - played cat and mouse with riot police through some of London's most fashionable streets.

"The G8 is just a front for the corporatocracy, for the kleptocrats. It is about making them more money and dividing up the world so they can all get richer," said one protester at Piccadilly Circus who gave his name only as Silver Fox.

"The G8 should be about ending all the wars - why don't they give peace a chance for once?"

Police vans chased groups of shouting protesters down Oxford Street, one of London's main shopping areas, to the visible shock of tourists and shoppers.

Police said they had arrested 32 people for offences including criminal damage, assault on police and possession of an offensive weapon.

Activists waved black, green and red flags as they marched down Oxford Street. They carried banners saying "No borders, no prisons, no capitalism" and "One Common Struggle".

Recent protests against the British government's austerity measures have been marred by riots. Many Britons have been angered by bank bailouts and bonuses during tough economic times blame the financial sector.