A MAN had to be restrained by three police officers last night as he disrupted an otherwise peaceful anti-war protest.

The man and his female companion were walking past a rally being held by Hartlepool Against War when he started shouting abuse.

He was restrained by the officers and handcuffed before being led to a police van. His companion was taken by a further two officers to a nearby police station.

The rally otherwise passed off without incident.

About 150 to 200 people had marched from Grange Road Methodist Church, in Hartlepool, to the town's cenotaph.

Among them was 81 year old Hilda Maguire, who said: "I am against any sort of war in any shape or form. This whole thing is just about oil."

Stephen Parkes, 24, of Hartlepool, said: "I am totally against this war in general. I do not think this is the right thing to be done. We should not go to war."

At the cenotaph, protestors listened to speeches from Yunus Bakhsh, of public services union Unison, Councillor Nigel Boddy, and Pete Smith, of the Stop The War coalition. The event was rounded off with a candlelit vigil.

The candles were lit as a sign of remembrance to those who have suffered as a result of conflicts around the world.

Daniel McCarte, of Hartlepool Against The War said: "The turn-out was fantastic. It included people from every walk of life and I am pleased they came along to join us."