Police to seek out militants targeting royal wedding
British police said Monday they would seek out violent protesters seeking to target the royal wedding next month after clashes on a weekend march against budget cuts raised concerns.
Commander Bob Broadhurst of the Metropolitan Police told the Daily Telegraph newspaper that Saturday's violent protests in London reinforced the view that "there does appear to be an appetite out there to endorse violence."
In a statement, he said the risk of violence at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton on April 29 had been "on our radar" following clashes with police in student protests against a hike in university fees last year.
"This clearly focuses my concerns as Saturday was almost a litmus test to see if we would face violence," Broadhurst said. "We'll be working to make sure we know if people are going to target the wedding."
There has been some criticism that police did not do enough to stop the violence on Saturday, where a small group broke off from a peaceful march of about 250,000 protesters to run riot in central London.
More than 200 people were arrested and 149 were charged over the disorder, which saw several hundred masked rioters attack the Ritz Hotel, occupy luxury food store Fortnum and Mason and start a bonfire in Trafalgar Square.
Broadhurst said officers would have tougher powers when policing the wedding, which is expected to draw huge crowds in London.
"With a security operation we have different powers we can use to ensure security," he said, saying the response of police would be "bolder".
Addressing potential troublemakers, Broadhurst said: "My message to those who may be thinking about it, is don't."
© 2011 AFP