Six police horses in London were injured when unruly elements taking part in an anti-austerity protest appeared to target the animals.
Police made 50 arrests during the Million Mask March in the centre of the city.
Experienced police horse Embassy was injured after a firework was thrown at him near Buckingham Palace. He was returned to the police stables for treatment, while his rider, who was unseated in the incident, was taken to hospital as a precaution. A broken wrist was suspected.
Several media outlets provided an account of how student Daisy Greenaway, 20, was abused by protesters after trying to protect Embassy in the aftermath of the firework attack, after he had bolted.
— James Cropper (@JamesCropper95) November 5, 2015
The horse was said to be slightly lame following the incident.
In all, four officers were injured as the evening unfolded.
Police condemned the conduct of some of the protesters, who had gathered to highlight austerity measures and growing inequality.
“Last night, my officers were well and truly in the front line,” said Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe.
“Fortunately, the four injured officers are doing OK. The most seriously injured was a mounted officer who was thrown from his horse, Embassy, after they had fireworks thrown at them in the Mall.
“Injured officers, injured horses and 50 arrests are not peaceful protest.”
The event, he said, had tied up nearly 2000 officers, who in the main had been brought in from local boroughs. Most of the arrests were made in two “containments” in the vicinity of St Martin’s Place, Trafalgar Square, and Parliament Street, Whitehall. The people were held after the march continued beyond 9pm, in breach of the Public Order Act 1986.
Hogan-Howe continued: “This has been a really busy week, even by the standards of the Met, and my officers have worked very hard in the face of some incredibly challenging and even violent circumstances.”
An estimated 1000 people took part in the March.
Five other horses suffered injuries during the evening. Quixote suffered injuries to his front legs, while Illustrious had a stick poked in his eye. Quartz, Qwerty, Heather are understood to have suffered leg cuts.
— Gerry Campbell (@GCampbellMPS) November 6, 2015
The march was peaceful for the first half-hour, before unruly elements began causing trouble. They threw missiles such as road cones and fireworks at police, including the horses. A break-away group set a police car alight while others smashed a police car’s windshield. Others strayed from the permitted protest route.