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84 Hurt in Clash at London Newspaper Plant

January 25, 1987|Associated Press

LONDON — A rally on the anniversary of the Wapping newspaper dispute turned violent Saturday with demonstrators hurling rocks and iron bars at police, and horse-mounted officers responding with repeated charges. Officials reported 49 arrests.

Police said 51 officers were hurt, at least 20 of them requiring treatment, many for concussion and facial injuries. One policeman had a dart extracted from his hand. Scotland Yard said 33 demonstrators were injured.

The rally was outside publisher Rupert Murdoch's new-technology printing plant in Wapping, East London, where printing of the Sunday Times was moved a year ago. Three other Murdoch newspapers are now printed there. Murdoch's News International fired 5,300 printers last January after they announced a strike over the move to Wapping from London's newspaper row on Fleet Street.

An estimated 12,000 people gathered at the plant Saturday after a march in support of the fired printers.

Truck Overturned

Protesters overturned a truck that had been used for a jazz band entertaining the rally-goers, blocking the plant's main gates, and tried to set it afire. They threw rocks, iron bars, bottles and bricks at the police, who were in full riot gear.

About two dozen mounted police arrived and charged into the crowd in a further effort to disperse the rioters. Some protesters were knocked to the ground.

At one point, what appeared to be fireworks went off, filling the road with smoke, and authorities reported a gasoline bomb was hurled.

Last year, Murdoch moved production of his two daily newspapers, the Times and the Sun, and his two weeklies, the Sunday Times and the News of the World, to the Wapping plant.

The Sunday Times was the first to move following a long and bitter fight with the National Graphical Assn. and the Society of Graphical and Allied Trades over staff cutbacks.

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