Arrests, but wedding security declared 'huge success'

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The Independent Online

The biggest security operation in a generation was hailed as a "huge success" today as police delivered on their promise to deal robustly with potential wedding troublemakers.

As the royal couple arrived at Buckingham Palace, police revealed they had made 43 arrests among the crowd to ensure the event went smoothly.

Officers swooped on two minor anti-wedding protests in central London but said scenes were calm.

A police source said: "It's all gone to plan so far, it's fantastic."



The arrests were made "within and outside the event footprint", Scotland Yard said.

Offences included an allegation of a sex attack on a 14-year-old girl, criminal damage and 25 breaches of the peace.

Ninety nine people were banned from the City of Westminster as more than 5,000 officers ensured the event went like clockwork.

Cheering crowds were separated from the road along which the royal couple travelled by two sets of barriers several feet apart.

Officers stood at regular intervals along the route, many enjoying jokes with well-wishers.

Witnesses on the ground said the two central London protests were good-natured but police were known to be keeping a "close eye" on potential disturbances later.

About 10 masked anarchists from the Right Royal Orgy Group gathered in Soho Square, while the Red Lion Square group were said to be from the Republican Tea Party.

Officers beefed up stop and search powers to keep the disturbances under control.

With the attention of the world fixed on London, hundreds of thousands of visitors were asked to be the police's "eyes and ears".

Snipers took to rooftops and undercover officers mingled among the crowds as part of the massive covert and overt operation to avoid an atrocity.

An abandoned car found in Westminster was inspected and cleared by specialist officers before the ceremony got under way.

Security against potential threats from al Qaida-inspired extremists, dissident Irish republican terrorists, anarchists and even lone stalkers was balanced with the desire to let onlookers enjoy the day of pageantry.

Up to 80 VIPs were granted personal protection but there was no intelligence to prompt police to use anti-terror powers to search crowd members as hundreds of thousands arrived in the capital for the event.

A total of 24 people suspected of planning disruption were arrested yesterday.

It emerged today that known anarchist Charlie Veitch was being held by officers in Cambridgeshire suspected of planning a rally in Soho Square.

He was arrested by Scotland Yard officers last night after posting on the internet that he was plotting disruption.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said he remained in custody after being questioned on suspicion of "conspiracy to cause a public nuisance and breach of the peace".

Another 20 suspected anarchists were banned from getting near the wedding as they were bailed after being arrested as part of a string of raids on squats across London yesterday.

Three protesters thought to have been planning to behead effigies remained in custody.

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