Today and tomorrow were predicted as the days to worry about with a mass protest planned in the City and at Canary Wharf today, and at the ExCel Centre tomorrow, when the G20 takes place.
And sure enough, the City protest today has got nasty, with riot police being sent in after demonstrators stormed a branch at the Royal Bank of Scotland building, threw smoke bombs and hit one police officer with a pole. The Waterloo & City line is suspended, as is part of the DLR, and Bank station – one of the biggest underground stations – is closed. Police are telling people to stay away from the City. Today is probably not the day to visit St Pauls.
You’d best stay away tomorrow, too – there will be another protest outside the London Stock Exchange in the morning. We’d stick to sightseeing in town, if we were you.
And definitely don’t go to ExCel tomorrow, where the summit is actually being held. For a start, the DLR is part suspended. For another, the security is so tight that even local residents have been warned to expect difficulties getting there. And then there’s the obvious- there’s nothing to do that way.
It will be a lot harder to get near touristy places like Buckingham Palace and Downing Streetthis week (tonight there’s a G20 reception at Buck House and then a dinner at Downing Street, so Whitehall will be closed). And Regent’s Park will be tricky, seeing as the US ambassador lives there, and it’s Obama’s base for the week.
Apart from that, though, stick to Central London, as far east as Holborn, and you shouldn’t notice much difference – in fact, you might actually find the streets are a little less crowded. And the hefty police presence going down means things actually feel quite safe. Probably best not to wear that bespoke suit though.