UK: Car crashes into Downing Street gate, one arrested

A man was arrested in London on Thursday after his car crashed through the heavy gates of Downing Street, which block the road where the prime minister’s residence and office are located, but police did not report any injuries. Not informed.

A significant safety device was put in place after the incident, before traffic was restored in the late afternoon.

“At approximately 4:20 pm (3:20 pm GMT), a car crashed into the gates of Downing Street on Whitehall”, the avenue onto which Downing Street opens. “Armed officers arrested a man from the scene on suspicion of criminal damage and dangerous driving,” police said in a statement.

London Police said, “No one has been reported to be injured. An investigation is ongoing to determine what happened.”

According to the BBC, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was in Downing Street. He left after the incident.

BBC footage shows a white car slowing down and driving through Whitehall. It then climbs onto the pavement and comes to a halt after gently hitting the tall black railing.

The latter does not appear to have been damaged by the impact.

Simon Parry, a witness at the scene, quoted by the PA agency, said, “I heard a bang and I looked up and there were lots of policemen shouting at a guy.”

Downing Street is located in London just a short distance from the Ministerial Quarters and the Houses of Parliament. With barriers along the sidewalk at the side of the road, safety is always present.

Much of Whitehall was closed to traffic and the public before re-opening at 5:45pm (4:45pm GMT), the time of day when many civil servants leave their offices in this tourist area.

Police cordon around a car that crashed into the gates of Downing Street in London May 25, 2023 (AFP – Justin Tallis)

The gates leading up to the famous road were installed in 1989 for security reasons. Previously, the public could walk up to the famous black door that marked the entrance to the prime minister’s official residence and in front of which many of them spoke.

In 1991, during a period of violence in Northern Ireland, the paramilitary group Irish Republican Army (IRA) fired three mortar shells against the residence of then Prime Minister John Major.

The gates, guarded by armed officers, are the first line of security to protect Downing Street. Official cars entering the road are carefully checked before lowering the removable pillars.

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