Man Arrested in Downing Street Car Crash in London

A car crashed into gates near the prime minister’s office on Downing Street in Central London on Thursday afternoon, and the police arrested a man on “suspicion of criminal damage and dangerous driving.”

There are no immediate reports of any injuries. The Metropolitan Police in London later wrote on Twitter that the episode was not being treated as “terror related.”

The vehicle hit the gates around 4:20 p.m., and armed officers arrested the man at the site, according to the Metropolitan Police. He was not immediately identified. Photos from the scene showed the police detaining a gray-haired man.

The gates are about 350 feet from the front of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s office and residence at 10 Downing Street. He was in his office at the time of the crash, and later left the area in a motorcade via a different street, according to the BBC.

It was not immediately clear if the crash had been deliberate, but video footage of the moments before the impact broadcast by the BBC showed the silver car slowly cruising toward the gates. The police later cordoned off the adjoining road, a line that remained into the evening.

The gates have long blocked access to Downing Street where it meets Whitehall. Low railings were put up in 1982 in response to terrorism by the Irish Republican Army.

In 1989, the tall, black gates that now stand at the entrance to the street were put in place. Even after they were installed, an I.R.A. mortar shell exploded in the garden of No. 10 in 1991 while Prime Minister John Major was chairing a cabinet meeting and left a crater in the area.

Central London has been the site of major attacks in the past, including one in which a driver struck several pedestrians with a vehicle outside government offices near Westminster Bridge. At least four people, including the assailant, were killed in the terrorist attack.

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