One person reportedly died after he collapsed during demonstrations in the British capital London, as protesters attacked the heavily guarded Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) on the eve of the crucial G-20 summit of the world's leading and emerging economies, reports say.
A network of campaign groups has organized a series of protests to coincide with a G-20 meeting to highlight causes ranging from job cuts, recession, climate change and the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nearly 5,000 protestors, determined to make their views heard, invaded London's financial district for what demonstrators branded Financial Fool's Day.
A mob broke into the RBS building and stole keyboards that were used to break windows while others spray-painted graffiti, writing thieves. Protesters also tried to storm the Bank of England and pelted police with eggs and fruit.
Police reported 87 arrests for offences including violent disorder, obstruction, aggravated burglary, arson and unlawful possession of police uniforms and vowed to track down troublemakers besides prosecuting protestors who broke into a branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) on the first day of G-20 protests.
Senior officers said one police officer was in hospital, receiving treatment after suffering a blow to the head. Seven protesters were also taken to hospital with injuries. Police said they had deployed one of Britain's biggest security operations to protect businesses, the Bank of England, the London Stock Exchange and other financial institutions.
Most protestors had dispersed by midnight after police started what they described as a slow dispersal of those who remained using powers under section 14 of the Public Order Act.
Meanwhile, a second day of protests are expected as world leaders gather for the G-20 summit at the ExCel center in east London's Docklands. Plans are also afoot to disrupt traders at the London Stock Exchange from 0700 BST while Stop the war Coalition, the British Muslim Initiative, CND and others said they were planning anti-war protests from 1100 BST in the vicinity of the ExCel center.
While protests raged on the streets, global leaders too were airing their differences on how to tackle the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Addressing a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in London, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the aim of agreeing upon new regulations for the financial sector was non-negotiable for France and Germany.
Merkel added, We do not want results that have no impact in practice. We want the kind of results that are really an outcome and change the world.
However, U.S. President Barack Obama and British P.M. Gordon Brown played down the differences, with Brown saying he saw likely agreement on issues including a possible USD 100 billion boost for global trade, financial regulation, and support for economic growth and job creation.
The G-20 is also expected to more than double the USD 250 billion available to the IMF to help emerging market countries. We are within a few hours, I think, of agreeing upon a global plan for economic recovery and reform... we are looking at every aspect, Brown said.
For comments and feedback: contact firstname.lastname@example.org