London: Twenty squatters were arrested in
raids across London Friday ahead of the royal wedding, police said.
Officers swooped on three addresses as part of an
intelligence-led operation, taking the suspects into custody
at various London police stations.
One lawmaker described the raids as "some form of
Scotland Yard has more than 5,000 officers on duty for
Friday`s wedding and has pledged to take "robust" action
against anyone threatening to disrupt the occasion.
Police sources said the raids were made as part of
investigations into recent outbreaks of disorder in central
London, including student and anarchist riots.
"These arrests are part of ongoing proactive work to
tackle suspected criminality," a Scotland Yard spokesman said.
"They are not specifically related to the royal
wedding but have been brought forward ahead of the event."
Nineteen people were arrested for stealing electricity
at an address in Camberwell, south London, and one person was
arrested in Hackney, east London, in connection with a riot on
An address in the village of Sipson, next to London`s
main Heathrow Airport, was also raided but there were no
Lawmaker John McDonnell, whose constituency includes
Sipson, said in parliament that the raids appeared to be "some
form of pre-emptive strike before the royal wedding".
Joe Rake, 20, a Sipson squatter, said he woke up to
some 40 officers raiding the property.
"It seems obvious to us that they thought we were
going to do something at the wedding," he said. "They searched
through our things but took nothing away and made no arrests."
Police are imposing a tight security clampdown around
the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Snipers will take to rooftops and undercover officers
will mingle among the crowds as part of a massive covert and
Security against potential threats from Islamist
extremists, dissident Irish republican terrorists, anarchists
and even lone stalkers is being balanced with the desire to
let onlookers enjoy the pageantry.
Officers have been scouring central London for
explosives and hidden weapons in recent days, inspecting
drains, lamp-posts and traffic lights.