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Armed officers at Wembley ahead of England-France game

Published 17/11/2015

French fans arriving early to the stadium showing support before the international friendly match at Wembley Stadium, London.
French fans arriving early to the stadium showing support before the international friendly match at Wembley Stadium, London.
Fans outside Wembley Stadium in London ahead of the friendly between England and France

Armed officers have been deployed at Wembley Stadium where the French football team is playing England in a friendly tonight.

The Duke of Cambridge, Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will be among those in the crowd in a show of solidarity after the deadly attacks on Friday night.

London Mayor Boris Johnson will also be in the stadium, and England fans are being encouraged to join in the singing of the French national anthem before kick-off.

French supporters waved Tricolor flags outside the national stadium and displayed banners, including one that read: "Thanks to the world".

A spokesman for Mr Cameron said he " will take part in any tribute that is fitting", adding the Prime Minister is "looking forward" to the match.

Labour said Jeremy Corbyn will also be at the match.

Fans arriving early for the match said they are hoping for a peaceful event.

Muslim friends Ansheed Tahir, 24, and Mazin Mohammed, 23, who are students from Upton Park, east London, said they are worried after Friday's events but are determined to attend to show their sympathy for the French.

Mr Tahir said: "We have had the tickets for two months and have not been put off by what happened.

"I am looking forward to the minute's silence and a chance to show solidarity with the people of Paris."

His friend added: "This has not affected us as Muslims. People in Britain are good to us. Globally there is blame for the Muslims but it is a tiny minority who are doing this and we do not approve of violence - it is against our religion."

The stadium bore the words Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite in red, white and blue and the arch over the ground was also lit in the colours of the French flag.

Armed police stood guard on Olympic Way, the main approach to the stadium.

French fans included a group of friends from Dunkirk.

One of them, Glavier Krishna, 31, said: "We have had the tickets for two months and did not think about not coming here. We do not expect what happened in France to happen again here. It's life - and what happened in Paris is in the past."

French fans gave lusty choruses of La Marseillaise for the media on their way to the stadium.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said an hour before the match that the security operation was going well.

"People are streaming in, we are expecting a nearly full house, at least 75,000 people. I don't think too many have been put off, our job is to make sure people are reassured and kept safe."

He said there was no specific intelligence of any problem at the match.

"But France were playing on that awful night in Paris on Friday, they are playing again tonight, there are a lot of French people here and we want to reassure them.

"We have a range of measures intended to keep people safe and to show our support for the French people and the French nation."

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