Protest at French ships' visit

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Eight Greenpeace activists were being questioned at Limehouse police station in east London last night after being arrested close to a flotilla of French warships moored on the Thames.

The eight ships, which docked early yesterday at West India Docks, are on a goodwill visit to Britain and police have mounted a huge security operation because of fears that their presence would lead to violent demonstrations against French nuclear testing in the Pacific at Mururoa atoll.

Four inflatable boats were also seized in the operation. However, the environmental group Greenpeace claims that the river is regularly used as a training site for its divers.

Anti-nuclear demonstrators also staged a mock royal protest at the gates of Downing Street yesterday when a Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament supporter dressed as the Queen administered a regal "hand-bagging" to a fellow protester dressed as John Major.