Anti-Cameron protests: hundreds march against election result, 17 arrested

Protesters and police face off at the gates of Downing Street during a protest against the Conservative Party in central London yesterday.Reuters

Protesters threw bottles, cans and smoke bombs at riot police in central London on Saturday in a demonstrationagainst the re-election of Britain's Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron.

Scuffles broke out when the demonstrators, blaring hooters, banging pots and chanting obscenities, confronted lines of police outside the gate leading to the prime minister's Downing Street residence. At one point a bicycle was hurled at police.

Police arrested 17 people, and four officers and another police staff member were injured, Scotland Yard said, in what it described as a spontaneous anti-austerity protest. Two of those hurt were being treated in hospital.

A Reuters photographer estimated that a couple of hundred people took part in the protest, including a group of about 25 black-clad youths with sunglasses and face masks.

Cameron, whose government has enacted tough spending cuts to bring down the budget deficit and has promised more such measures to come, won a second five-year term in Thursday's election with an outright majority in parliament.