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Police in London Battle Foes of New Law-and-Order Bill

October 10, 1994| Reuters

LONDON — Police battled opponents of a new law-and-order bill in central London on Sunday after what organizers said was Britain's biggest civil rights march.

Rioters hurled bottles and cans at police equipped with shields, helmets and clubs in exclusive Park Lane alongside Hyde Park, where the march ended. At least 16 were arrested.

Organizers said 100,000 people had turned out to call for scrapping the Criminal Justice Bill before it becomes law this month. Police said there were 20,000 marchers.

The bill weakens a defendant's traditional right to silence and tightens the law to prevent squatting.

It also gives police new powers to deal with indigents and other dropouts who roam the countryside and are often in conflict with local people. Police will be able to break up groups of more than nine.

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