Saturday, September 17, 2022

Thousands upon thousands queue to see the Queen lying in state


1926 — 2022

Queen lying in state: Queue a 'complete shambles' as thousands enter after line was 'shut'

Saturday 1am NZ time

The queue to see the Queen lying in state has been branded a "complete shambles" after thousands of people were allowed to enter the line after the Government said it was shut. 

At 9.52am Friday London time, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport announced on Twitter that entry had been paused for "at least six hours". 

But the message seemingly never made it to the attendants at the gate, and people were able to file through in their thousands.

It wasn't until almost two hours later at 11.36am that the gate was actually closed. A couple who travelled from Manchester at 7.30am said the whole thing was a "complete shambles". 

A crowd has now formed around the entrance in Southwark Park as people beg to be let in. There is also now a queue for the queue.

Downing Street said the queue system to view the Queen's lying in state is going to plan.

The public queue is being paused for at least six hours after reaching capacity this morning.

A Number 10 spokeswoman directed questions to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, but it was "the case that what DCMS have done is they've temporarily paused the queue for at least six hours after it reached maximum capacity.

"That has always been part of our planning and that is to make sure as many people as possible in the queue can enter the Palace of Westminster.”

Confusion around the closure of the queue to see the Queen lying in state continues at Southwark Park.

Thousands of mourners are still filing through the gate, despite instructions from the Government that the queue has been paused until 4pm.

A press officer from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport could be seen making his way to speak to queue officials.

Asked if the queue has been paused yet, he replied: "I'm not sure, I need to go and find out."

Funeral operation biggest in history for London Metropolitan Police

Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Cundy told reporters the "hugely complex" policing operation is the biggest in the force's history, surpassing the London 2012 Olympics which saw up to 10,000 police officers on duty per day.

Mr Cundy said: "This will be the largest single policing event that the Met Police has ever undertaken.

"As a single event this is larger than the 2012 Olympics, it is larger than the Platinum Jubilee weekend.

"The range of officers, police staff and all those supporting the operation is truly immense."

It will also be the largest global protection operation the force has dealt with, as hundreds of world leaders, dignitaries and other VIPs are expected to attend the state funeral on Monday.

In the wake of the Queen's death, in mutual aid alone - officers who are drafted in from outside forces to help - there will be 20,000 officer shifts throughout the week and 2,000 officers in a single day at the peak, Mr Cundy said.

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