British PM condemns student riot at party HQs


LONDON: British Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday branded the ugly riots at his party’s headquarters “completely unacceptable” after a student protest over tuition fees turned violent.
Cameron also criticised the “inadequate” police response, saying there had only been a small number of officers deployed to protect the London building housing the Conservative Party’s offices when the violence broke out Wednesday.
Fifty people were arrested and bailed after thousands of demonstrators besieged the office block near parliament, completely smashing through the glass frontage, wrecking the lobby and attacking the police. Fourteen people were injured, half of them police officers.
Police admitted they had been unprepared for the scale of violence and had been expecting a peaceful rally. The first violent demonstration against the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition’s policies since it came to power in May followed a march by students against the government’s plans to triple university tuition fees as it seeks to pay off Britain’s record deficit.
Speaking in television interviews from Seoul, where he is attending a G20 summit, Cameron said those responsible should be prosecuted. “Of course people have a right to protest peacefully but I saw pictures of people who were bent on violence and on destruction and on destroying property and that is completely unacceptable,” he told the BBC.
“And we need to make sure that that behaviour does not go unpunished and we need to make sure that we don’t, as the police put it, see scenes like that on London’s streets again.”
Cameron said he had telephoned colleagues to check the safety of those in the building.He praised the officers at the scene as “very brave” but told Channel Five News: “What the police themselves have said… is that the police response was inadequate and that the lessons have to be learned.”
Activists got on the roof and hurled a fire extinguisher at the thin line of police below defending the building.