Leeds Olympic torch relay protestor cautioned

Police have appealed for witnesses
Police have appealed for witnesses
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A protestor who tried to extinguish the Olympic torch with a bucket of water as it made its way through Leeds has been cautioned.

The 24-year-old was among the spectators who packed the streets of Headingley as the torch wound its way up North Lane on June 24.

Shocked onlookers gasped as the man lurched from the crowd and hurled a bucket of water towards torch bearer Peter Howard, who had taken over possession of the torch at Headingley Cricket Ground.

The sprightly 79-year-old, who became a European and World Triathlon Champion at the age of 77, narrowly avoided a dousing and carried on regardless. But uniformed officers pounced on the protester, pinning him to the ground.

They then dragged him off into a waiting police van on suspicion of a public order offence.

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman told the YEP: “A 24-year-old was arrested in connection with an incident at about 6pm on June 24 where water was thrown towards the area where the torch bearer was carrying the Olympic flame.

“He was arrested in relation to a section four public order offence, taken into custody, interviewed and accepted a caution after admitting the offence.”

The YEP understands he told police he had wanted to register his protest at the level of policing required by the relay at a time of cutbacks.

The incident was not the only instance of a member of the public having to be restrained after trying to get up close and personal with the torch.

As reported in the YEP after the event Gilda Porcell, who runs the Pasta Romagna restaurant in the city centre, stepped out and tried to touch the torch before being ushered away by security staff.

In total about 200,000 people are thought to have seen the torch relay in Leeds.

An estimated crowd of 25,000 people lined the streets of Boston Spa, Wetherby and Harewood on the day it arrived in the outskirts of the city.

There were also huge crowds in Headingley, Potternewton, Harehills and Richmond Hill as it made its way to Temple Newsam for a final celebration event that attracted 25,000 people.

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