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BRITISH VIOLENCE BLAMED ON HIRED TROUBLEMAKERS

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Authorities said hired troublemakers rather than local citizens were behind the violent demonstrations against a new tax to be levied in England and Wales next month.

Scores of people were wounded and arrested when police and demonstrators clashed in at least 12 cities and towns Tuesday night and Wednesday.A woman handcuffed herself to the black rails outside Parliament, took off her raincoat and while nude displayed a banner that said "No Poll Tax." Police freed her with bolt cutters, and arrested her on charges of being drunk and disorderly.

Asked for his reaction to the revealing demonstration, Lord St. John of Fawsley, 60, said, "I am past the age, dear boy, of shock."

About 900 years earlier in England, legend has it noblewoman Lady Godiva acted on a dare from her husband and rode naked on horseback through the streets of Coventry so that he would abolish a heavy tax.

The violence was worst in Bristol, where 500 demonstrators tried to storm council chambers during a meeting Wednesday that set the tax at $803 per adult. Four police were wounded and 21 people were arrested.