13 Jan 2011
The man was filmed running across Parliament Square towards a crowd of protesters and police.
The video was uploaded to YouTube by a woman protester who filmed it on a mobile phone and is the first evidence petrol bombs were used at the riots. Detectives say the device could have seriously injured protesters and police.
The film shows the man running towards a crowd, who flee in panic as he approaches them in the square.
But the footage of the event during the December 9 protests does not show him throwing the bomb and it is not clear what happens next. Det Ch Supt Matt Horne, leading the investigation to track the rioters, said: “The right to peaceful protest is fundamental but what we have released today shows the unlawful side of protest.
“An individual is carrying what app-ears to be a petrol bomb, putting others in clear danger. If he did throw it then this could have led to serious injury to protesters and police officers.”
Police released the film as they revealed that so far they have arrested a total of 206 people over the student riots.
Officers also released 10 new images of suspects involved in disorder during the November 24 protests, as well as pictures of a man who took part in attacking the royal convoy carrying Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall on December 9. The young man, who booted one of the cars in the convoy, is also seen trying to kick in the windows of Topshop in Oxford Circus and throwing a fence at police during earlier protests in Parliament Square.
The pictures were released a day after A-level student Edward Woollard, 18, was jailed for 32 months for hurling a fire extinguisher from the roof of Millbank during the first tuition fees riot last November.
Mr Horne hoped the sentence would make protesters reflect on their future actions. He said 80 officers and staff on Operation Malone were involved in tracking down about 200 suspects.
Police estimate the inquiry could take as long as a year because of the painstaking work of examining thousands of hours of CCTV and film footage.
Mr Horne said the response from the public to police appeals was encouraging, with hundreds of people phoning in the names of suspects.
Many people who had attended the protests had given officers footage from their own phones, though most of the evidence came from CCTV and media channels. “A lot of protesters feel pretty let down by the actions of people on these marches,” he said.
Police are still hunting a couple, including a young girl in glasses, who were caught on CCTV cameras as they attacked the Rolls-Royce carrying Charles and Camilla in Regent Street.
The majority of people arrested so far are men aged between 15 and 22 — and most of them had not been intent on violence when they set out.
But detectives say there is a hard core who are bent on causing violence, while they also have evidence of street gangs who targeted the protests so they could carry out robberies.
The YouTube footage of the Parliament Square petrol bomber was released with the permission of the woman protester, said police.