Police arrest two at anti-cuts rally in Bristol

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Two people were arrested and two police officers were injured during a march and rally in Bristol protesting against government spending cuts.

Some 1,000 demonstrators, including union supporters from neighbouring Gloucestershire, took part.

The event - one of several of its kind across the UK - was organised by the recently-established Bristol and District Anti-Cuts Alliance.

Most demonstrated peacefully, but a handful clashed with police.

The demonstration was organised in the wake of Chancellor George Osborne's plans, outlined this week, to save £81bn over the next four years.

Key measures include cutting about 500,000 public sector jobs, slashing welfare, reducing council budgets and raising the retirement age for men and women to 66.

In Bristol, 300 council jobs are expected to be lost by 2012.

In Gloucestershire, there are fears that 5,000 public sector jobs are at risk.

Image caption,
The event was organised by the recently-established Bristol and District Anti-Cuts Alliance

Phil Jordan, secretary of the recently re-formed Gloucester District TUC, said: "There is a mood gathering and people are starting to hit the streets."

Schoolboy Rufus Wilcock, 10, said: "I'm worried about cuts because my mum's a teacher, so it's going to affect us all quite badly."

Organiser Nigel Varley said: "I'm a pensioner and the value of my pension is going to go down considerably.

"I live in a council flat and the rents could go up by a third and I could lose security of tenure of my flat, and as I get older, I'm going to need social service help more and it's not going to be available."

Two people were arrested for public order offences and two officers suffered minor injuries.

Sgt Mark Alderton, from Avon and Somerset Police, said: "We had a largely peaceful protest here I'm glad to say, but it was unfortunately interrupted by an isolated incident, but that was dealt with fairly quickly."

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