Balloon Goes Up On May Day Demos In London

Trade unionists, pensioners, students and activists from the anti-capitalist Occupy movement staged protests across London to mark May Day.

Occupy London , which set up a protest camp outside St Paul's Cathedral last October before being evicted in February, began the day with a demonstration at Liverpool Street station.

Activists taking part in Occupy the Tube handed out flowers, and tents filled with balloons were flown across the station concourse to avoid laws against static demonstrations.

After the station protest they joined the main demonstration in which a couple of thousand trade unionists and other campaigners gathered at Trafalgar Square.

Sky's Home Affairs Correspondent Mark White was at the protest and said that around 150 demonstrators met at Bond Street tube station after the main protest.

"Some people attempted to break into the Zara store on Oxford Street, resulting in two arrests," White said.

"But on the whole this protest has been very peaceful - there is a heavy police presence here," he said.

The rally took place against a backdrop of disputes over public sector jobs, pay and pensions and wider concerns over cuts as the Government tries to tackle the deficit.

One of the organisers said: "Attacks on the NHS, education, pensions, the civil service, local government, jobs both public and private sector, the disabled and women mean we have to fight back and say there is a different way forward."

The protests came ahead of planned industrial action on May 10 by tens of thousands of civil servants, lecturers, health workers, Ministry of Defence staff and Royal Fleet Auxiliary employees over the Government's public sector reforms.

May Day has been celebrated in London since the 1880s and is marked by labour organisations around the world.