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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 July, 2005, 19:35 GMT 20:35 UK
Knives seized at G8 protest camp
A protester leaves the campsite after being searched by police
A protester leaves the campsite after being searched by police
Police stopping anti-G8 protesters from marching at an eco-camp near Stirling have seized knives at the site.

Officers reinforced their lines at the entrance to the site and warned people that they faced arrest if they tried to take to the streets.

Knives, wooden and metal poles and a can of CS spray were recovered in searches at the camp.

However, protesters said that the knives taken by police had been used for cooking.

Dozens of officers in riot gear began surrounding the site overnight as a "security measure".

During the morning officers continued to monitor the campsite where about 2,500 demonstrators were thought to be staying.

At first only those with tickets for travelling away from the area were allowed to pass, but as evening came officers began letting people move freely in and out.

Police pushed backed protesters who tried get closer to the hotel
Our response to the violence was measured, proportionate and wholly justified
John Vine
Tayside chief constable

There were 65 arrests on Wednesday as people smashed car windows, threw rocks and blockaded one of the main approach roads to Gleneagles, about 14 miles north of Stirling.

BBC Scotland's political correspondent Kit Fraser, who is based at Gleneagles, said senior police sources had criticised Stirling Council for allowing protesters to camp at Stirling.

They said it provided 200 to 300 violent anarchists with a base from which to attack the summit.

However, Stirling Council said that the majority of those who had used the site since Saturday had been well behaved.

Councillor Gillie Thomson, convener of the environment committee, condemned those who had caused violence and damage to property.

He added: "The actions of these people are in complete contrast to the 3,000 or so people who have been having a peaceful demonstration at the eco-village since last Saturday.

Protester outside eco-village in Stirling
A protester being marched back to the eco-campsite

"It is regrettable that the actions of this minority have undermined the efforts of those on site."

Superintendent Gavin Buist said there was a minority of troublemakers at the camp, but stressed most were "passionate, committed protesters" with no interest in disruptive behaviour.

Joe MacDonald, who is staying at the camp as part of the Dissent Network, said it was quiet and peaceful on Thursday.

He said he was not aware of any weapons being seized by police, adding: "All we have here are basic cabin knives which are for every day use like cooking."

Police said that weapons, including an axe, saw, machete and a high-powered catapult with ball bearings, were also seized during the disturbances in Auchterarder, where between 5,000 and 6,000 people took part in the G8 Alternatives march.

'Measured' response

Chief constable John Vine said: "Tayside Police will continue to adopt our favoured style of community-based policing to prevent disruption to the G8 summit.

"Our response to the violence was measured, proportionate and wholly justified."

Police have even seized 90 litres of cooking oil in recent days amid fears it could be used to make road surfaces slippery.

The 91 people arrested in South Perthshire on Wednesday have now begun appearing in court.

Weir protest
Protesters blocked the main gate of the Weir factory in Glasgow

It is expected that about 70 will pass through Perth Sheriff Court on Thursday.

Tough bail conditions were imposed on some of the first people to appear, facing charges of police assault, carrying knives and breach of the peace.

The Crown is insisting that the accused give a UK address - a demand which a defence lawyer said he had never encountered before.

Depute fiscal Anne Orr said the aim was to keep the potential troublemakers out of the area to prevent further disruption.

Twenty-eight people have appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court following an unplanned march by G8 campaigners who were unable to travel to Gleneagles to protest.

Potential hotspots

Most of those arrested, who included men from Spain and Greece, faced breach of the peace charges.

They pleaded not guilty and were released on bail under the condition that they stay away from potential protest hotspots in Edinburgh, Stirling, Perth and Kinross and Glasgow until 10 July.

However, two people with tickets for T in the Park had their conditions relaxed so they could attend the festival this weekend.

Sit-down protest

Security levels were stepped up in Auchterarder on Thursday following the bomb attacks in London, with armed police patrolling the streets.

Prime Minister Tony Blair has left the Gleneagles talks to go to the capital, but plans to return on Thursday evening.

Elsewhere, six anti-nuclear activists are staging a sit-down protest at the main entrance of the Weir Pumps factory in Cathcart, Glasgow.


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