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‘Golden Orb’ plan to secure King Charles’ coronation

LONDON—Thousands of police officers, snipers, and cameras will be used this weekend to ensure King Charles III’s coronation passes off without incident.

London’s Metropolitan police are spearheading a major security operation —dubbed “Golden Orb”—which will see officers redeployed from around the country to the capital.

The “multi-layered” plan will also feature officers from specialized units including dogs, firearms, and marine support. Police will also use facial recognition technology.

Britain’s King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort 

With world leaders and heads of state descending on London, as well as hundreds of thousands of expected visitors, the Met said the security operation would be “one of the most significant and largest” it had ever led.

Among those leaders is President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who left the United States on Thursday (Friday, Manila time) with the First Family to attend the crowning of Britain’s 13th monarch since the political union of the kingdoms of England and Scotland.

The Marcos family’s trip, following the President’s five-day official visit to Washington, is in response to the invitation sent by the United Kingdom to Mr. Marcos as relayed by UK Ambassador Laure Beaufils.

In a statement, Malacañan Palace confirmed the President had accepted the invitation to attend the coronation of the new British sovereign. It was still unclear at press time who in the presidential entourage to the US would accompany the Marcoses to London as well.

The coronation will be held at Westminster Abbey on Saturday (Sunday in Manila), the Presidential Communications Office said.

The PCO said Mr. Marcos and the First Lady accepted the invitation of the Master of the Household, upon command of His Majesty, to a reception at Buckingham Palace on May 5 ahead of the coronation of King Charles and Her Majesty the Queen Consort, Camilla Parker-Bowles.

The President is also expected to meet with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Saturday.

“There will be more than 29,000 police officer deployments over the coming week in the lead up to Coronation Day and over the rest of the Bank Holiday weekend,” the force said in a statement.

Saturday will see the largest one-day mobilization of officers in decades, with just over 11,500 police on duty, including 2,500 specialist officers.

They will line the processional route, manage crowds and road closures, protect high-profile guests, and carry out searches.

Anti-monarchy group Republic has announced its plans to protest what it calls the “vanity parade.” It is hoping around 1,000 people will turn out to boo the king as he passes Trafalgar Square.

The Met’s Deputy Assistant Commissioner Ade Adelekan told reporters Wednesday the planned demonstration would be “legal” but vowed “very swift action” if the protests became “criminal.”

“We have an extremely low threshold for anybody or anything that will disrupt this event,” he said.

Holding up an anti-monarchy sign is not a criminal act, Adelekan noted, while adding “our priority is around safety and security for everyone.”

Contentious new laws handing police increased powers to curb disruptive protests by climate campaigners and others came into force just this week, leading to accusations they were rushed through ahead of the coronation.

Under the new Public Order Act, protesters who block roads could face up to 12 months in prison.

The Met have also disclosed that they “intend to use facial recognition technology in central London.”

“The watch list will be focused on those whose attendance on Coronation Day would raise public protection concerns,” the force said. That includes those wanted for offenses or with outstanding arrest warrants, the statement added.

Civil liberties organisation Big Brother Watch hit out at the proposed use of what it branded an “authoritarian mass surveillance tool that turns the public into walking ID cards.”

“This Orwellian technology may be used in China and Russia but has no place on the streets of Britain…,” still less during the Coronation, its legal and policy officer Madeleine Stone said.

In addition, snipers will be stationed on some rooftops in central London, while the skies above the British capital will also be closely watched.

No drones or planes are permitted to fly over central London on Saturday, except for police helicopters and authorized media.

According to Philippine Ambassador to the UK Teodoro Locsin Jr., President Marcos personally knew King Charles during his early adulthood, and they even had a chance to play polo together.

Charles became king when his mother Queen Elizabeth II died last September 8. He also took over as head of state of 14 Commonwealth countries, including Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

Charles Philip Arthur George chose his regnant name Charles III following his ascension to the throne. His mother Queen Elizabeth was the longest-reigning British monarch, which also made him the longest-serving Prince of Wales.

Mr. Sunak is eager to meet President Marcos at the coronation, Ambassador Beaufils said on Tuesday.

The British envoy said they were working on setting up a meeting between the two leaders on Saturday, the day of the coronation, but nothing had been finalized.

“We hope so. The Prime Minister said that he would very much like to meet President Marcos so we’re in the process of trying to make that happen. We very much hope that the meeting will take place Saturday and we think it’s likely to take place on Saturday,” she added. — AFP with Vince Lopez

Credit belongs to : www.manilastandard.net

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