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Cameron attacks "shocking" attack on Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall

Friday afternoon update:

By Jonathan Isaby

Tonight's Evening Standard reports that last night's attack on the Royal car was even more alarming that it at first seemed:

"The Duchess of Cornwall was physically attacked through an open car window as thugs rampaged through London, the Standard can reveal today. A rioter managed to push a stick through an open window of the limousine and jab her in the ribs. Camilla's terrifying ordeal came as a baying mob surrounded her and husband Prince Charles when they rode through central London in the vintage Rolls-Royce last night. A police source said one of the car's rear windows was opened by mistake as tuition fee protesters moved in. The attack is the biggest royal security breach in decades and raises new questions about the protection of the couple."

David Cameron has said that the blame for the incident lies entirely with those who were attacking the car, a sentiment echoed by London mayor Boris Johnson, speaking on Radio 4 earlier:

“It is surprising and regrettable people’s first instinct in this situation is to blame the police. The police were castigated for what happened at the G20, there is a very very difficult balance which to strike. We have in our city a democracy in which the police spend, we spend substantial sums of taxpayers’ money allowing people to demonstrate.”

“What is difficult is when the police are surrounded and when they’re asked to deal with very very substantial numbers of people who are determined to cause mayhem... We could have many more broken heads in London this morning."

That said, on the question of the Royal car, questions must surely be being asked about the route it took, and indeed the decision to use such a high-profile vehicle on a night when there were protesters out on the streets.

On the matter of the devastation the protesters have left behind in Parliament Square and elsewhere, Westminster Council leader Colin Barrow has said that it will cost tens of thousands of pounds to clear up and repair the damage:

"The behaviour of the protesters will ultimately cost taxpayers thousands of pounds and meant that our staff had to be diverted from their usual tasks."

“The violent actions of a hardcore minority not only put peaceful protesters at risk, but posed a significant threat to the Unesco World Heritage Site of Westminster Abbey and the Palace of Westminster, as well as the historic statues which line the Square.”

On the wider issue of how to police these kinds of demonstrations Daniel Hannan has blogged this afternoon that these are exactly the kinds of decisions that he wants to see being made by an elected sheriff who can then be held accountable by the wider public.


Tim Montgomerie

MAIL David Cameron's statement:

"In our democracy people are fully entitled to protest peacefully and make their views known. But the violence in London today is totally unacceptable. It is clear that a minority of protestors came determined to provoke violence, attack the police and cause as much damage to property as possible. They must face the full force of the law. The police have confronted considerable danger, and a number have been injured as they sought to uphold the right to peaceful protest. They have responded with courage and professionalism, and deserve the gratitude of the public. It is shocking and regrettable that the car carrying the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall was caught up and attacked in the violence."


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