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London Protest Damage

Tourists: Damage caused by protestors “a total shame"

Mar 27, 2011

The damage caused by violent anti-cuts demonstrators was branded “embarrassing” and “a total shame” by tourists visiting the capital.

Although much of the debris left by yesterday’s carnage had been removed by 9am, Trafalgar Square was still showing signs of what had gone on.

The words “fightback” and “Tory scum” were scrawled on one of the four bronze lions, while red paint remained on part of the 2012 Olympics countdown clock.

A placard demanding “hands off Libya” was placed high on the statue of King Charles

The activists from last night were replaced by bemused Scottish football fans, who were in London to watch their side take on Brazil at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium

Stuart Jamieson, a 22-year-old business student from Glasgow Caledonian University, said the damage had spoilt their pre-match sightseeing

“It’s a total shame. We are tourists who have come to see the sights so it takes a wee bit away from the experience,” he said.

Another fan, residential home support worker Colin Shepherd, 37, from Glasgow, added: “I’m all for peaceful protests, but not rioting.”

Shops in Oxford Street bore the brunt of the angry demonstrators, and were battling to remove the final remnants of yesterday’s trouble before their doors opened for Sunday shoppers.

High-pressure water jets were removing paint and broken glass which covered the pavement outside Topshop. A member of staff said they expected to begin trading on time.

A banner lying on the road read “Cut Trident and arms budget”, while the word “STRIKE” was daubed in the middle of the Oxford Circus “X” crossing.

John and Patricia Williamson, from Whitehaven, Cumbria, were visiting London to see a West End show.

They condemned the damage for its effect on the UK’s reputation.

Retired construction trainer John, 60, said: “I think it’s embarrassing for the country. There’s so many tourists here. What are they going to think?”

His wife Patricia, 61, added that she was behind the non-violent trade union rally.

“I have sympathy with them because I used to be a public sector worker. I think it’s been a small minority that caused this,” she said.

Cleaners were also busy scrubbing paint and graffiti off luxury shop Fortnum and Mason, while the front of The Ritz was also undergoing repairs after it was targeted.

Tourists: Damage caused by protestors “a total shame"
Break-away protester smashes shop window on Piccadilly /Photo by Michael Graae/London News Pictures


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