'No one felt threatened' by pope visit arrests: Vatican

18th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

Pope Benedict XVI is "very calm" and "no one felt threatened" despite the arrest of six men linked to an alleged plot to launch an attack during his visit to Britain, a Vatican spokesman said Saturday.

"We never attributed much importance to these arrests," Federico Lombardi told AFP, adding that no-one in the Vatican entourage "felt threatened".

"The pope and his aides have no concerns about security. We have complete confidence in the local police," he said.

Lombardi said Friday, the second day of the first ever state visit to Britain by a head of the Roman Catholic Church, had been "an intense but happy day".

The pope fulfilled his full itinerary on Friday despite the arrests, meeting the Anglican leader, the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, and giving a speech to lawmakers and faith leaders in Westminster Hall.

Counter-terrorism police in London swooped at dawn on Friday to arrest five men, aged between 26 and 50, "on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism", Scotland Yard said.

A sixth man was detained later Friday.

The local council confirmed the men worked for an environmental services company hired to clean the streets in the London borough of Westminster, where the pope spent much of Friday.

Police continued to question the men on Saturday at a high-security police station in London.

On Saturday, the third day of the four-day visit, the pope met Prime Minister David Cameron and conducted mass at the Catholic Westminster Cathedral before an open-air prayer vigil in London's Hyde Park.

© 2010 AFP

0 Comments To This Article