FIFTY people were arrested after violent clashes with police erupted at annual anarchist gathering the Million Mask March.
Thursday night’s protest outside Parliament, organised by Britain’s Anonymous group, was marked by the deployment of thousands of extra police officers and the setting alight of a patrolling car.
Protesters wearing infamous V for Vendetta masks claimed violent actions had been the work of “planted” police agitators and that the event had been planned as a peaceful protest.
At the march, Mexican anarchist Aztecarna Peatonito claimed: “Anyone who is violent is not with us.”
He added that for six years Anonymous had attempted “to get the press to take us seriously,” adding: “It was only when we wore the masks that we started getting attention.”
The event’s organisers said the protest was a way of saying “enough is enough.”
In a statement on Facebook, they explained: “We have seen the abuses and malpractice of this government, and governments before it, we have seen the encroaching destruction of many civil liberties we hold dear, we have seen the pushes to make the internet yet another part of the surveillance state, we have seen the government’s disregard for migrants, for the poor, the elderly and the disabled, we have seen the capital, profit and greed of the few put before the wellbeing of the many.
“The government and the 1 per cent have played their hand, now it is time to play ours.”
Several protesters and three police officers were injured on the night, as well as six police horses.
Most of the arrests were for public order offences, including an assault on a police officer.
Metropolitan Police commander BJ Harrington said: “We facilitate hundreds of protests every year in London peacefully and with the co-operation of the organisers.
“On this occasion, a group of protesters chose not to engage with police or adhere to the conditions of the protest and were intent on criminality.”