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Traffic scare in London

A handout picture obtained from the twitter user @StefanoSutter shows damaged vehicles on Exhibition Road, in between the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum, and the Natural History Museum, in London on Oct 7, following an incident in South Kensington. (AFP)

Police detained a man near London’s Natural History Museum on Saturday after a vehicle apparently drove into pedestrians at a busy tourist spot, injuring a number of people. Witnesses and footage posted on social media suggested the man was pinned down on the ground by passers- by near the Victoria and Albert Museum.

A police spokesman said it was too soon to say whether the incident was related to terrorism, and London Mayor Sadiq Khan said “details are still emerging”. The area, which includes the wide, semi-pedestrianised Exhibition Road which runs past the Science Museum, is popular with families and tourists, particularly on a Saturday afternoon. Footage and photographs posted on Twitter showed the detained man next to a black car with its door open and its bonnet severely damaged.

Witnesses reported by some media said they had heard a loud bang. An AFP reporter said crowds in the area had fled screaming in panic.

Armed police were deployed to the scene and the whole area was subsequently cordoned off. The public were urged to avoid the area. Security is high in Britain after five terror attacks since March — four of them in London and one in Manchester — with the bloodshed claiming 35 lives. Three of the attacks in London involved the use of a vehicle to plough into pedestrians.

Downing Street said Prime Minister Theresa May was being kept up to date with developments. In a statement, Khan made no mention of terrorism but said he was in close contact with Mark Rowley, the head of counter-terrorism policing, and the emergency services. London’s Metropolitan Police said they were called to the scene at 2:21 pm (1321 GMT) after reports of a collision. “It is believed that a number of pedestrians have been injured. A man (no further details) has been arrested at the scene,” the police said in a statement. (AFP)


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