Little man versus the state: 'March for the Alternative', 2011

More than 250,000 people attended the Trades Union Congress (TUC) 'March for the Alternative' and rally in central London yesterday against public spending cuts.

Labour Party leader Ed Miliband and represenatives from a number trade unions addressed crowds in Hyde Park.

In the largest public protest since the Iraq war rally in 2003, marchers from across the UK set off from Victoria Embankment, where TUC general secretary Brendan Barber was first in a line of speakers.

"We are here to send a message to the government that we are strong and united," he said.

"We will fight the savage cuts and we will not let them destroy peoples' services, jobs and lives."

Although the main march passed off peacefully there were pockets of protest and disturbance elsewhere:

A sit-in organised by the campaign group UK Uncut took place at Fortnum & Mason department store in Piccadilly. The group has previously mounted protests against tax avoidance measures by big businesses

A bonfire was lit by protesters at Oxford Circus, where earlier police said light bulbs containing ammonia were thrown at officers

Topshop on Oxford Street had its windows smashed and was doused with paint

Missiles were thrown at the Ritz Hotel, Piccadilly

Bank branches including the Royal Bank of Scotland were attacked with paint and had windows broken, while branches of HSBC and Santander were broken into.

Scotland Yard said there had been 202 arrests for public order offences, criminal damage, aggravated trespass and violent disorder.

*For further coverage of events visit UK Uncut, the TUC, the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) and the BBC. ย 

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