Six police horses were injured during a protest in central London yesterday (Thursday, 5 November).
The Metropolitan Police deployed what it described as a “significant police operation” to deal with the Million Mask March, an anti-austerity campaign.
Several officers were also taken to hospital during the operation, but have since been discharged, said a spokesman for the force today (Friday, 6 November).
“The injured horses were deployed primarily in The Mall, Great George Street, Parliament Square and Trafalgar Square,” said the Metropolitan Police spokesman.
There were 2,000 officers involved in yesterday’s Million Mask March, where hundreds of anarchists lined the streets, with some throwing fireworks.
The most seriously injured horse was Embassy (pictured, above), who sustained injuries to his side, rear fetlock and front leg, while working near Buckingham Palace.
The mounted police officer riding him suffered a broken wrist when he fell after Embassy was spooked by fireworks.
Quartz sustained an injury, believed to be caused by glass, to his hind leg.
Qwerty sustained an injury to his hind quarters.
Heather sustained a cut to her fetlock on her hind leg.
Illustrious sustained an injury to his eye, believed caused by a stick.
Quixote (pictured below) — who was injured in a dog attack in Greenwich Park last January — sustained injuries to his front legs.
A member of the public, David Wilson, pictured above, was recently presented with the British Horse Society’s Sefton Award for his bravery in helping Quixote at the time.
Fifty people were arrested for a variety of offences. Forty-eight remain in custody — one person has been charged with assault on police; one person has been cautioned for assault on police.
A young woman was reportedly attacked after she tried to protect one of the horses during the march.
An RSPCA spokesman told H&H the organisation was “saddened” to hear the news of the injured horses.
“Despite their training and any protective equipment worn, it appears the reckless actions of some participants at the demonstration may have resulted in police horses being harmed and frightened,” she said.
“We would appeal to those who take part in such events to take care around these animals and to remember that their actions can have serious effects on the animals’ welfare.
“It is clearly upsetting that horses deployed to protect the public then sustain injuries of this nature. We hope that each horse makes a full recovery.
“Anyone with any information relating to this or any deliberate acts of cruelty is urged to report it to the police, or the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.”