Following a weekend of rioting in central London over proposed spending cuts by the government, Scotland Yard has warned that terrorists, anarchists, anti-monarchists and others may try to disrupt the Royal Wedding later this month between Prince William and Kate Middleton.
During the weekend, London police arrested more than 200 people in the massive rally against the nation’s austerity budget (although the vast majority of 250,000 protesters behaved peacefully).
Late last year, groups of people protesting student fee hikes attacked a car carrying Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla.
Bob Broadhurst, commander of the London Metropolitan Police said the April 29 wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey may present an ever bigger wave of security threats.
They won't get away with it, Broadhurst told BBC radio Monday. The royal wedding has a different tenor to it. It's a security operation largely.
During the wedding ceremonies, UK police will reportedly be allowed to use special stop-and-search powers that fall under the country's counterterrorism laws. The wedding itself presents a security and logistic nightmare, considering that tens of thousands of people will be on the parade route through central London. The police may even be forced the check the identities of the nearly 2000 invited guests who will actually be inside the church during the marriage ceremony.
However, British police indicate they have received no specific warnings about a terror threat against the royal couple.
Still, given that London suffered a deadly wave of terrorist attacks in 2005, precautions are running very high. The 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai (which killed 170 people) has added to such concerns.
The (U.K.) terror threat is currently at severe but if we know of a specific plot likely to occur it could be raised to critical, a British security official said, according to media reports.
The British government has planned to dump a law that bans any unauthorized protest within a half a mile of the Houses of Parliament — which includes Westminster Abbey — but this may not happen for several weeks.
Prime Minister David Cameron's spokesman Steve Field said police will provide adequate security for the royal wedding.
We need to learn the lessons as we go and make sure we have the right arrangements in place, and that's what we will do in the case of the royal wedding, Field said.