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Friday, 7 February, 2003, 14:35 GMT
War protesters occupy Labour HQ
Anti-war placards
Protesters entered the headquarters with placards
Anti-war protesters staged a demonstration in the Labour Party's northern headquarters as the Prime Minister Tony Blair toured the north-east region.

A group of up to 30 demonstrators filled the lobby of the building in North Shields, North Tyneside, protesting against the government's stance on Iraq, the party said.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The protest came as Mr Blair visited a number of sites in County Durham and Hartlepool on Friday

He is supposed to be an elected Prime Minister, but 84% of his own country does not support him

Missy Currier, protester

Police were called to the headquarters just before 1030 GMT after reports protestors had entered the building with placards and banners.

A spokesman for Northumbria Police said no one was arrested and the protesters left when asked by officers in a "low key" operation.

Protester Missy Currier, 22, a student living in Gateshead, said: "We thought with the impending war on Iraq, Tony Blair isn't listening at all.

"He is supposed to be an elected Prime Minister, but 84% of his own country does not support him."

She added: "The demonstration was non-violent direct action.

"People are concerned. He is going to have to start listening. He is supposed to represent us and he doesn't."

Secure environment

A Labour Party spokesman said: "A number of protesters got into the building's reception area, about 25 to 30 of them.

"They were a group of anti-war protesters.

"Of course, we respect the right of people to demonstrate appropriately for what they believe in.

"But Labour Party staff also have the right to work in a secure environment."

Earlier in the day Mr Blair opened a renovated sports and community centre in Hartlepool and a community centre in South Hetton.

He was also visiting schools in the area.


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07 Feb 03 | England
06 Feb 03 | Politics
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