Riot police in G8 protest crackdown UPDATED
More than 100 officers surrounded a reported squat in Beak Street, Soho, London, occupied by anti-G8 protesters.
The move comes as the group StopG8 planned a “Carnival Against Capitalism” in central London before the two-day summit of world leaders in Northern Ireland next week.
Businesses including hedge funds and banks in central London are understood to have warned staff to take precautions after similar protests in recent years led to violent clashes with police.
Westminster City Council cabinet member for city management Ed Argar said: “Our warden teams will be working with police to manage the streets and we also have clean-up crews on standby.
“Everyone respects the right to legitimate protest and I hope this will be a day without incident.
“However, business people, shop staff and visitors have the right to go about the West End without intimidation or interference and we will do our best to ensure the centre of London runs smoothly.”
On Twitter, local residents and office staff reported strong police presences in the Oxford Circus and Regent Street area of central London and Golden Square, close to Beak Street.
One, designer Jamie Rees, reported: “Locked into work. Literally. G8 protestors outside targeting Golden Square.”
Another, Ed McClaran tweeted: “Big G8 protest outside our offices today. People chaining themselves to railings. Why they are in the West End and not the City, I don’t know.”
The leaders of the world’s eight wealthiest countries, including Russian president Vladimir Putin and German chancellor Angela Merkel, are due to meet at the luxury Lough Erne resort in Co Fermanagh for the two-day conference next week.
US president Barack Obama is to visit parts of Belfast ahead of the summit.
Police protection of landmark sites across Belfast has been tightened in advance of the conference.