London police arrest 122 after G20 violence

LONDON (Reuters) - Police have arrested 122 people and detained scores more following violent clashes timed to coincide with the G20 economic summit in London, they said on Thursday.

Around 85 people were arrested on Wednesday after repeatedly clashing with police in the narrow streets of London’s financial quarter on what protesters designated “Financial Fools Day.”

Police are also examining how one man died in the clashes.

By mid-afternoon on Thursday, after two police raids on squats and two smaller demonstrations around the Stock Exchange and the Bank of England, the total number of arrests reached 122, police said.

More protests were staged near the summit itself on Thursday where around 400 people gathered in east London’s docklands area to demonstrate against poverty, war and a financial system they say has failed ordinary people.

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Demonstrators held banners and flags in a good natured and boisterous protest near the ExCel Center where leaders from top industrialized and emerging economies were meeting to agree on a response to the world’s worst financial crisis since the 1930s.

Protesters chanted against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, conflict in Ethiopia and the greed blamed by many for the economic crisis.

“Abolish all nukes, yes we can,” said one banner. “We won’t pay for their crisis,” read another.

Security for the gathering of world leaders, who included U.S. President Barack Obama, was intense. Many roads near the conference center were closed and police launches patrolled nearby waterways.

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On Wednesday, a man died in a side street by the Bank of England after apparently collapsing and the Independent Police Complaints Commission said it would investigate the circumstances.

The man was found lying on the ground behind a standoff between police and protesters. A police source said it was likely he had died from a medical condition.

City of London Police said the 47-year-old was on his way home from work at a newsagent when he died.

A post mortem was being held to try to establish the cause of death.

Reporting by Michael Holden and William Maclean; Writing by Kate Holton