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    Riots clear-up to cost taxpayer £100,000


    by ODN


    The clear-up operation following Thursday's violent student demonstrations will cost the taxpayer up to £100,000, it has been claimed.

    Some 80 cleaners worked through the night to erase the trail of destruction left by mobs in Westminster.

    In Parliament Square alone, students tore down metal barriers, painted a black anarchist's 'A' sign on a wall and daubed graffiti on all the statues and on St Margaret's Church, Westminster City Council said.

    Bus stops, benches, sign-posts, statues and five red listed phone booths in the area were also targeted by vandals, as were the Supreme Court and the Treasury building.

    Further afield, windows were smashed at the Topshop store on Oxford Street and Austin Reed on Regent Street was spattered in graffiti.

    The bill facing the GLA is likely to be more than £50,000 for both Parliament and Trafalgar Square, while Westminster Council said the damage to Oxford Street and parts of the West End would cost "tens of thousands of pounds" to repair and clear.

    The behaviour of the protesters could also damage London's reputation ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games, the Greater London Authority said.

    A spokesman for the Mayor of London said: "Our early estimates are that repairing the extensive damage caused to both Parliament and Trafalgar Square could cost in excess of £50,000, which is an unacceptable burden on the public purse.

    "Parliament Square Gardens was subjected to sustained and violent attacks by some protesters intent on mayhem who ripped down fencing, set fire to benches and in a wanton insult to democracy, defaced the statues of some of the greatest protectors of the very freedoms and privileges those intent on causing damage yesterday abused."

    Leader of Westminster Council, Councillor Colin Barrow branded the vandalism and violence "completely unacceptable".

    "While we support peaceful protest, we have to condemn those who deliberately set out to harm police officers, cause damage to property and wreak general mayhem," he said.