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Armed police deployed across UK to provide security at public events

The FA Cup final between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Wembley Stadium was among the over 1,000 public events scheduled across the country over a bank holiday weekend.

world Updated: May 27, 2017 18:11 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Armed policemen outside Twickenham Stadium in London, where the Britain Rugby Union final took place on Saturday.
Armed policemen outside Twickenham Stadium in London, where the Britain Rugby Union final took place on Saturday.(Reuters)

From beaches to trains to sports events – armed police have been deployed across the country as Britons prepare to enjoy three days off in the shadow of Monday’s terror attack in Manchester that claimed 22 lives.

The FA Cup final between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Wembley Stadium was among the over 1,000 public events scheduled across the country over the bank holiday weekend in warm and sunny weather, providing many a way to emerge from the anguish caused by the attack.

As counter-terrorism operations continue, the police said 11 men remained in custody in connection with the attack, including two latest arrests of men aged 20 and 22. Prime Minister Theresa May chaired another meeting of the government emergency committee (”Cobra”) on Saturday.

Grief has given way to calls for unity in Manchester and elsewhere, but the town has also seen an upsurge in hate crime, particularly against the Muslim community. Schools, mosques and individuals have reportedly been targeted.

Greater Manchester Police chief constable Ian Hopkins said: “Manchester has come together this week and it is important we continue to stand together, particularly in relation to hate filled views that have no place in Greater Manchester.

“Sadly, we have seen an increase in reports of hate incidents from 28 on Monday, which is what we receive on an average day, to 56 on Wednesday. We can’t directly link these to the events of Monday night and are continuing to monitor the situation.

Hopkins said he had sent a personal message to all faith leaders and places of worship, thanking them for the support they have shown and stressing that hate crime will not be tolerated.

He called for such crime to be reported to the police.

According to Scotland Yard’s top assistant commissioner Mark Rowley, “immense” progress had been made in the investigation into a suspected network linked to suicide bomber Salman Abedi. But there were still “important” lines of inquiry and urged the public to “go out as planned and enjoy yourselves”.

“Whatever events you are going to — whether you are going shopping or to sporting events or music events — I’d encourage the public to carry on. What they will see is many more police officers — some armed, some unarmed — out there to protect the public,” he said.