Police clear London anti-war encampment

Parliament Square protest site had been continuously occupied since invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

    Police and cleanup crews remove items from the anti-war protest camp in Parliament Square [Daniel Deme/EPA]

    Police in the UK have cleared a decade-old protest camp in central London that was first established to oppose the war in Afghanistan in 2001.

    Two people were arrested during Monday's raid at the protest site, located in Parliament Square just adjacent to the British parliament.

    The Metropolitan Police said officers arrived to the encampment around 7:30pm on Monday night to remove "all tents and sleeping equipment."

    The clearing of the protest site took two hours and 10 to 12 supporters were "moved on," the police said.

    Local council cleaning crews aided police in removing the camp, which featured signs with messages such as "Stop killing our kids," pictures of alleged "war crimes" in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the death count of tens of thousands activists say have been killed during the ongoing war in Afghanistan.

    Colin Barrow. the leader of the City of Westminster council, offered support for the police action.

    "For too long local people and tourists have been unable to fully enjoy the square," Barrow said. "This is a tragedy and the sooner this historic site can be enjoyed by the public the better."

    New legislation

    The clearing of the encampment followed the passing by parliament of new regulations covering protests in Parliament Square which has served as an epicentre for demonstrations on issues such as the war in Iraq in 2003 and student protests against rises in tuition fees.

    The Parliament Square protest site was first established by Brian Haw, a veteran anti-war activist who died from cancer in June 2011.

    The clearing of Parliament Square has worried "Occupy London" activists who set up a similar camp outside St Paul's Cathedral in October 2011.

    A tweet from the Occupy London's Twitter account on Monday night read: "Parliament Square protest being cleared currently by police. Get down & show solidarity."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and Agencies


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