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Police raid anti-G8 protesters' base in central London

Police raid anti-G8 protesters' base in central London
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Police in riot gear raided a central London building on Tuesday where activists from the anti-G8 group, Stop G8, were meeting ahead of a demonstration.

Isolated scuffles also broke out when police moved in to arrest protesters, as a group of 30 to 50 individuals, mostly dressed in black, banged drums and blew whistles.

The Group of Eight summit is due to begin next week in Enniskillen in Northern Ireland and demonstrators had planned a “Carnival Against Capitalism” across the capital to kick off a week of action.

However, hours before Tuesday’s protest was due to start, more than 100 police officers moved in on a building just off Regent’s Street in the Soho area, trapping protesters as helicopters hovered above and reinforcements waited nearby. London’s Metropolitan Police said they had a search warrant for the property.

“Our protest liaison teams are actively working to engage with those wishing to protest so that we can facilitate peaceful protest”, a spokesman said.

Stop G8 wrote on Twitter: “Carnival will go ahead despite cops at Beak st. Don’t let them intimidate us! See you 12 noon Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus.” The Stop G8 Twitter account was later suspended.

Last month the anti-capitalist group issued a map of potential targets for people to “show their anger”, identifying organisations such as banks, hedge funds and mining and energy companies. Many firms that are possible targets have warned their staff to be especially alert to the demonstrations and have introduced enhanced security checks.

Security has been heightened in Enniskillen for the summit, with authorities mindful of threats posed by Irish nationalist splinter groups. Police raids on Monday in Northern Ireland led to the seizure of weapons and explosives. Some 900 police officers will be on duty and the government recently approved new rules allowing phone signals to be blocked in the case of an emergency.

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