Scuffle of the week

As legions of local authority workers and tabloid editors scrubbed Churchill clean and tried to pick the hemp seeds out of Parliament Square, the Met was forced to admit that it had used illegal tactics during the ‘free Tibet’ demonstration last year. The Metropolitan ‘damned if we don’t intervene, damned if we do’ Police was forced to admit to the High Court that it had acted unlawfully in seizing banners and flags from demonstrators protesting against the reception being given to Chinese premier Jiang Zemin (above). Last month, an internal police review found that the officers had acted in line with police policy. The opposition and the Free Tibet campaign are demanding to know the Home Office’s involvement in the police tactics. A spokesperson for the campaign said: ‘It stretches credibility to ask us to believe that all the officers in the Mall spontaneously made the same mistake by removing flags and banners.’