London

Million Mask March: Four officers hurt but protest 'mainly peaceful'

  • 6 November 2015
  • From the section London
A red flare in front of police horses Image copyright PA
Image caption A police horse called Embassy was among six animals hurt at the Million Mask March

One person has been charged with assaulting an officer after four officers and six horses were hurt in clashes at the Million Mask March.

Large crowds gathered in Parliament Square in central London on Thursday night and many wore the "Guido" masks of the Anonymous anti-capitalist group.

One protester called A+ said Anonymous did not condone the violence of a few and the event was largely "peaceful".

The Met Commissioner said the majority of protesters "intended on violence".

Fifty people were arrested of whom 48 remain in custody.

The Met said the worst injured officer was thrown from his horse and had a suspected fractured wrist after fireworks were thrown at officers in the Mall.

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Image copyright EPA
Image caption The Met deployed 2,000 officers for the protest on Thursday

His horse Embassy has injuries to his face, fetlock and front leg and the officer is recovering at home, the Met said.

'Despicable behaviour'

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said: "This has been a really busy week, even by the standards of the Met, and my officers have worked very hard in the face of some incredibly challenging and even violent circumstances."

The Commissioner said he believed the animals had been deliberately attacked and the majority of marchers "intended on some kind of violent process".

Sir Bernard added: "They knew it was a possibility these fireworks would frighten the animals, so I think it's pretty despicable behaviour.

"Protest by all means, but don't hurt other people in the process."

'Horses don't feel'

Daisy Greenaway, a 20-year-old student at the University of Westminster, said she was among some protesters when they started to throw firecrackers at police horses and was punched while she tried to prevent a horse being harmed.

She said she was initially in Parliament Square but police had tried to shut the protest down and she found herself in a kettled zone. She then moved to the protest at Buckingham Palace.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe visited police horse Embassy at the force's stables

"On arrival, a horse ran past and people threw fireworks.

"When I told people not to hurt the horses I was told 'police horses don't feel' or 'they're trained for this stuff'. I pulled one guy away from a horse who then tried to fight me."

She said the police had helped her to exit from the crowd when they realised she had played no part in the violence.

'The forgotten'

Another protester, who goes by the name A+ said it was a small minority who were involved in violence.

He said in those few cases, "the mask has been used for wrong reasons and we do not condone this."

The 31-year-old music producer from Montgomery County, Maryland, said of the march: "It was the most beautiful gathering of all religions under one family.

"A lot of people came from all parts. With the mask on it felt like the World had come."

"We are the forgotten. Our first goal is to inform."

The Million Mask March was organised by Anonymous to hit back at austerity measures and perceived inequality brought about by the government.

The protest started in Trafalgar Square and moved on to Parliament Square. In an isolated incident further away from the main protests an unattended police car was set on fire.

Image copyright Daisy Greenaway
Image caption Daisy Greenaway said she was punched by a masked man as she tried to prevent a police horse from being harmed
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A police car was set alight in Queen Anne's Gate, central London

Injuries to Met Police horses

  • Embassy has injuries to his face, fetlock and front leg
  • Illustrious has an injury to his eye, believed to have been caused by a stick
  • Quartz has an injury on his hind leg believed to have been caused by glass
  • Qwerty has been hurt on his hind quarters
  • Heather has a cut to her fetlock on her hind leg
  • Quixote has injuries to his front legs

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