18 Sep 2010

Six arrested in security alert during Pope's UK visit

8:52 am on 18 September 2010

Six men have been arrested in London in relation to a potential threat to Pope Benedict's state visit.

Five of the men worked as street cleaners an the area of central London near Parliament where the pontiff was due to speak on Friday afternoon. They were arrested by armed officers on Friday morning, while a sixth man was detained on Friday afternoon.

Most of the men, aged from 26 to 50, are understood to be Algerian.

Police reviewed security arrangements after the arrests but decided they remained appropriate.

Speech to MPs

In his keynote speech to British MPs, the Pope warned that religion - and Christianity in particular - is "being marginalised" around the world.

Pope Benedict XVI told MPs, senior members of British society, and religious leaders at Westminster Hall in central London that there were some people who wanted to see "the voice of religion be silenced".

He called on those in attendance to seek ways to promote faith "at every level of national life".

Earlier, the Pope met the spiritual head of the Anglican church, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams.

The meeting at Lambeth Palace marked the first time a Pope has met the Archbishop at his official residence.

The BBC says it was viewed as an important event more than 40 years after official talks began about possible reunification of the two churches.