Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Anarchists Spark Security Alert Ahead of Thatcher's Funeral

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Anarchists Spark Security Alert Ahead of Thatcher's Funeral

Article excerpt

Byline: Benedict Moore-Bridger and Justin Davenport

HUNDREDS of police are on stand-by in London as anarchists threatened a mass "party" in Trafalgar Square on Saturday to celebrate the death of Baroness Thatcher.

Scotland Yard revealed that it has launched a major operation to counter threats of disorder before her funeral next Wednesday. All leave has been cancelled and operations are being run from a special command and control operations room in Lambeth.

The Trafalgar Square event is being organised by anarchist group Class War, while other groups such as the All London Anarchist Revolutionary Mob, which says it is "committed to radical action to undermine the state", are also mobilising supporters.

Senior police officers are said to have been initially "quite relaxed" about security in London following Lady Thatcher's death, but this has changed since unrest in Brixton and Bristol where seven police officers were injured.

The funeral will see the biggest security operation in Britain since the Olympic Games, with hundreds of armed officers forming a "ring of steel" along the three-mile route from Westminster to St Paul's Cathedral. Senior officers, who began planning for the event two years ago, are aware that threats could come from militant far-Left groups, anarchists and Irish terrorists. Marksmen will be deployed on rooftops and undercover officers will mingle with crowds.

Blanket stop and search powers are expected to be introduced, with officers using powers of pre-emptive arrest to target known troublemakers.

The Met's Fixated Threat Assessment Centre, which monitors disturbed individuals obsessed with public figures, will vet those who are known to be fixated on Lady Thatcher.

Police are already monitoring social networking sites for plans for parties to "celebrate" her death and are preparing an "appropriate" plan to counter any possible trouble.

They will enact strategies worked out after the 2011 riots, with groups of officers ready to respond quickly to flashpoints of violence and disorder, while insiders say police are still developing an intelligence picture of likely threats. …

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