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Clashes with Police as Thousands Protest in London

Back-dropped by Big Ben, demonstrators against the coalition government's spending cuts march in London, March 26, 2011

Masked protesters clashed with riot police and attacked stores, banks and hotels in London Saturday, overshadowing an earlier peaceful protest by more than a quarter of a million Britons against government spending cuts.

Police said more than 200 people were arrested and dozens injured as protesters threw glass bottles, burning flares and other objects at police.

The clashes deflected attention from an earlier peaceful march to protest the public spending cuts, tax increases and pension reforms.

Britain is facing $130 billion of public spending cuts as the government struggles to slash the country's deficit.

The protest was organized by the Trade Union Congress, which argues that the budget cuts will hurt economic recovery and damage Britain's reputation. It was the biggest demonstration in the British capital since the 2003 protests against the war in Iraq.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.