Thousands in Britain Protest Spending Cuts

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Up to a half-million people flooded the streets of London Saturday to protest the British government's spending cuts, the toughest made since World War II.

Public sector employees, nurses and campaign groups took part in the mostly peaceful mass demonstration.

"They shouldn't be taking money from public services. What have we done to deserve this?" Alison Foster, a 53-year-old school teacher, told the Associated Press. "Yes, they are making vicious cuts. That's why I'm marching, to let them know this is wrong."

Although the government acknowledged the protesters' concerns, officials said they must address the financial problems caused by the labor party and will not change course.
     
Meanwhile, a separate, more violent rally broke out Saturday when a group of activists clashed with police in Trafalgar Square.  More than 200 people were arrested.

"I don't think the activities of a few hundred people should take the focus away from the hundreds of thousands of people who have sent a powerful message to the government today," Trade Union Congress General Secretary Brendan Barber said, adding that he regretted the sporadic violence,

"Ministers should now seriously reconsider their whole strategy after today's demonstration," he added. "This has been Middle Britain speaking."

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