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London demonstrators clash with police in budget protest

Carl Court / AFP - Getty Images

Police clash with protesters outside the Topshop store in central London, during a mass demonstration against government financial cuts on Saturday, March 26. Tens of thousands marched through London today in a demonstration against the government's austerity measures, amid a heavy police presence that failed to stop outbreaks of violence.

Dylan Martinez / Reuters

Demonstrators break windows of the Ritz Hotel, during a protest organized by the Trades Union Congress, called 'The March for the Alternative,' in central London on March 26.

Reuters reports:

A quarter-million mostly peaceful demonstrators marched through central London on Saturday against the toughest cuts to public spending since World War II, with some small breakaway groups smashing windows at banks and shops and spray painting logos on the walls.

Another group of black-clad protesters hurled paint bombs and ammonia-filled light bulbs at police.

Organizers of the March for the Alternative said people from across the country were peacefully joining in the demonstration, the biggest protest in London since a series of rallies against the Iraq war in 2003.

Commander Bob Broadhurst of the Metropolitan Police confirmed that more than 250,000 people had marched peacefully, but said around 500 had caused trouble in London's main shopping streets.

He said nine people had been arrested, for public disorder and criminal damage. Police said 28 people had been injured during the demonstration, and seven were admitted to hospitals for a range of problems, including shortness of breath and a suspected hip fracture. Five police officers were also injured and one of those had to be treated in hospital for a groin injury.