LONDON (Reuters) – Anti-terrorism police, on high alert during a visit by Pope Benedict to the British capital, arrested six men on Friday on suspicion of preparing an attack.
Police moved quickly to make the pre-dawn arrests of five men who worked as street cleaners in the area in central London near parliament where the pontiff later spoke.
A sixth suspect was arrested about eight hours later but it was not clear if he worked for the same cleaning company contracted by the Westminster area of London.
British broadcaster Sky cited unnamed sources as saying the six were Algerian but police said they could not comment on the report and the Algerian embassy said it had not been notified of the arrests of any of its nationals.
Police, who searched eight homes and two businesses in London, reviewed security arrangements after the arrests but decided they remained “appropriate.”
The BBC reported that the men had posed “a possible threat to the pope” but police refused to confirm or deny that. The Vatican said the trip would go ahead as planned and that the pope was calm.
Security is expected to be tight on Saturday when demonstrators protesting against the pope plan to march from Hyde Park to Downing Street, the prime minister’s official London residence.
Pope Benedict is due to meet British Prime Minister David Cameron, his deputy Nick Clegg and acting opposition leader Harriet Harman, before attending a prayer vigil at the park.