Crowds cause chaos outside Westminster Abbey

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The Independent Online

Swelling numbers of royal fans and camera crews caused chaos outside Westminster Abbey today, creating traffic jams and bringing crowds to a standstill.

Traffic was brought to a snail's pace on Victoria Street, the main road outside the abbey, and police officers were brought in to manage the increasing mass of people.

A Metropolitan policeman said camera crews in front of the tents had caused blockages on the road so they had used barricades to "separate the people from the traffic to keep everyone safe".

The makeshift tent village spread across the pavement opposite the abbey as the day went on, forcing the pedestrian pathway to a standstill.

Police officers were brought in to manage the flow of people and formed a pedestrian walkway on the main road using metal barriers.

Buses, lorries, vans and cars came to a brief standstill outside the abbey as police implemented a one-way system for people on foot.

Camera-clad tourists surrounded the colourful tent village which spilled further down the road towards Parliament Square as more well-wishers descended upon the abbey.

Royal fans Trina Moffat, 47, and her 10-year-old daughter Laura said they had just arrived but "so far it had been chaos".

"We came here so my daughter could experience the atmosphere not on TV," said Ms Moffat.

"Every hour it's just going to get more and more busy.

"We're hoping to pitch up. We should be able to get a spot on the Mall near Buckingham Palace."

Crowds extended down nearby streets as police officers struggled to move people and camera crews off the roads.

Camper Patricia Draper, 59, who has travelled from Adelaide, Australia for the big day said that when she set up at Parliament Square this morning it had been much quieter.

"It is now busier and there are a lot more people here," she said.

"I'm here for the pageantry of the occasion, I hope that everything goes smoothly and I do not want it to rain."

She said competition among fans to get the best pitch was growing.

"A few people are desperate to stay in the queue and they are being a bit pushy," Ms Draper added.

More tents were popping up along Victoria Street as the afternoon went on and increasing numbers of street sellers turned up with reams of royal memorabilia.