Monday 28 March 2011 8:54 pm
Boris agrees to riot summit after protests
THE MAYOR of London Boris Johnson (pictured) is to hold a summit for retailers and businesses affected by the violence at Saturday’s anti-cuts protests. Johnson said in a letter to the New West End Company yesterday that he and the Metropolitan Police “want to continue… dialogue and see what lessons can be learned”. Retailers including Fortnum & Mason, Topshop and Boots suffered millions of pounds worth of damage when a small number of protestors at the TUC-organised event smashed store-fronts and daubed paint on the shops. “Anyone seriously interested in growth, jobs and creating opportunities for young people in these difficult times will be disgusted by the violence and disruption in central London on Saturday,” said the mayor in response to the New West End Company, which represents 600 businesses in the area.
The group’s chairman Dame Judith Mayhew Jonas wrote to the mayor yesterday calling for a crisis meeting to ensure the area will be protected during future protests.
Jonas called for the authorities to force protest organisers to provide their own insurance against damage caused, and plan to keep marches away from “retail and leisure areas where footfall is high”.
Home secretary Theresa May told Parliament yesterday that 145 people were arrested in connection with the sit-in protest at Fortnum & Mason, while 201 arrests were made in total.
May said she will consult with the police to decide whether to introduce new powers to deal with violent protestors.
MPs from all parties condemned the violence yesterday.