Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Britain Re-Examines Security for 2 Big Events ; Officials Call for Review of Measures for Thatcher Funeral and Sunday Race

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Britain Re-Examines Security for 2 Big Events ; Officials Call for Review of Measures for Thatcher Funeral and Sunday Race

Article excerpt

The funeral for former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and the London Marathon are likely to draw crowds of people onto the streets, as the Boston event did on Monday.

With security forces around the world on alert Tuesday for copycat attacks after the Boston Marathon bombings, British officials urged a review of security measures for the London marathon on Sunday, the next big international race, as the police and military in the city prepared to deploy for another major public event -- the ceremonial funeral of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on Wednesday.

The funeral and the marathon are likely to draw crowds of people onto the streets, as the Boston event did Monday when two bombs near the finish line killed at least three people and wounded scores.

There had already been concerns that radical foes of Mrs. Thatcher's wrenching, market-driven social and economic policies would seek to disrupt her funeral, during which her coffin is to be borne on a horse-drawn gun carriage through central London along a route lined by 700 military personnel leading to St. Paul's Cathedral.

Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, were to attend the ceremony in the soaring cathedral. As a mark of respect, lawmakers have ordered that the booming clock chimes of Big Ben be silenced during the funeral. Mrs. Thatcher's coffin was to be moved Tuesday to the 13th-century Chapel of St. Mary Undercroft in the British Parliament building, where it was to remain overnight in preparation for the funeral.

British news reports said officials were debating whether the most likely threat to the ceremonial occasion was from disruption by domestic protesters or from terrorists. Either way, said John Reid, a former cabinet minister, the calculation would be that "we will be more resilient than any terrorist in the long run."

Last year, the city girded itself against potential terrorist threats during the London Olympics and Paralympics, fearful of any attempt to reprise the London bombings of July 2005.

"Everyone will have been appalled at the terrible events in Boston," Mr. Reid said in a radio interview. …

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