London police arrested 32 people today after protests in the West End shopping district before a Group of Eight summit hosted by U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron in Northern Ireland next week.
Television pictures showed a building in Soho occupied by demonstrators. The group StopG8 called the action a “carnival against capitalism.” Police officers later blocked access to Fortnum & Mason Plc’s luxury store on Piccadilly, which was the focus of rioting in 2011 against U.K. government spending cuts.
Those arrested were held for offenses that included an assault on police, criminal damage, possessing an offensive weapon, possession of articles with intent to commit criminal damage and failing to remove a face covering, the Metropolitan Police said in an e-mailed statement.
“We have sought to engage with protest groups who were proposing action around G-8 through our police liaison teams but at this stage no groups or individuals have engaged with us,” the Met said. “We would continue to ask anyone who wants to protest in London around the G-8 summit to contact us so that we can work with them and facilitate peaceful protest.”
Leaders from Russia, Germany, France, the U.S., Japan, Italy and Canada will join Cameron at the Lough Erne resort in County Fermanagh for the conference of G-8 leaders on June 17-18.