The Women of World War II memorial in Whitehall has been defaced by anti-democratic protestors spraying the words “F*** Tory Scum” on it in bright red paint. Downing Street has condemned the graffiti as “despicable”.
As the Conservatives prepare for five years of majority rule with Prime Minister David Cameron rolling out his new cabinet – the first wholly Conservative cabinet for 24 years – protesters took to the streets throwing smoke bombs, biscuits and punches.
Four police officers and one police staff member were injured during violent clashes with protesters, which started outside Conservative Party headquarters on Matthew Parker Street before moving on to Downing Street. One police officer was hospitalised with a suspected dislocated shoulder, while the staff member suffered a cut lip from flying objects.
The anti-Conservative graffiti was scrawled during the fracas, even as a VE Day concert to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the war in Europe was gearing up in nearby Horse Guards Parade. Protesters, hurling paper plates, cup and biscuits at anti-riot police, chanted “get the Tories out” and “power to the people”.
A Downing Street spokesman said: “Spraying graffiti on war memorials is a despicable display of disrespect for those who fought and died for their country, particularly at a time when the whole nation comes together to commemorate the 70th anniversary of VE Day.”
Speaking anonymously, one of the crowd told the Telegraph “We are doing this to protest against the savage welfare cuts of the Tories.
“This is a movement that is going to get bigger and bigger and people will have to stand up and take notice. We want to bring the scale of the poll tax protests to demonstrations like this.”
He said a “small minority of anarchists” fought with police, throwing wire poles at them.
“It all got pretty brutal at that point, but they have been kettled now, the violent ones, so hopefully we can now focus on getting our message across.”
A spokesman for the Met Police said “Police in Westminster are currently facilitating an unplanned anti-austerity protest outside Downing Street.
“One police officer and one member of police staff have been injured policing this protest.
“Both are being treated in hospital. The officer is being treated for a suspected dislocated shoulder. The member of police staff is being treated for a cut lip after being struck by an object. The three other officers were assaulted and did not require hospital treatment.
“Officers are aware of criminal damage to the Women’s War Memorial in Whitehall and are investigating. There are no reported injuries to any members of the public.
“We are working to minimise disruption to all road users and members of the public passing through the area.”
According to the Telegraph, groups supporting the protest included London Black Revs, The Brick Lane Debates, BirminghamStrong Justice 4 ALL, Kashmiri Students Campaign UK, Rojava Solidarity Working Group, Class War, Occupy Democracy, Occupy UAL, Our Brixton, and Sisters Uncut.