The public are to be prevented from watching the UK’s national commemorations of the 75th D-Day anniversary because of a double-layered solid fence being erected to protect US President Donald Trump.
A political row broke out after it was announced that Mr Trump would attend the event to mark the anniversary of the D-Day landings in Portsmouth, Hampshire, as part of his state visit to the UK.
Gerald Vernon-Jackson, the Liberal Democrat leader of Portsmouth City Council, has said that the US president had not been invited and should not attend because he would take the attention away from the veterans.
Update about new security measures for DDay 75. All of Southsea Common will be fenced off with searches to get in. Area around War Memorial for DDay ceremony to have extra solid steel fence around it for invite only event. Site for protesters near Pyramids @LoveSouthseaUK— Gerald Vernon-Jackson 🔶ï¸ (@geraldvjuk) April 25, 2019
He has now revealed that the event will have to be surrounded by a two layers of security fencing, preventing uninvited members of the public from being able to watch the ceremony on Southsea Common also being attended by the Queen.
He said the only way for people to be able to see the proceedings would be on big screens put up on the common or at home on television.
Mr Vernon-Jackson explained that the security measures were being ramped up from those originally planned when the monarch was the only world leader expected to attend.
He added that heads of state of the 14 nations involved in D-Day, as well as the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, had subsequently all been invited.
He said: “The whole of Southsea Common will be fenced in which is a large area, part of it will be set aside for protesters because we have to be realistic that protesters will be there.
“The ceremony itself will be behind solid steel barrier walls so people won’t be able to see into it and it will now be invite-only.
“It is a significant increase of security, it’s a very different level.”
He added: “My worry is that instead of the focus being on the veterans and the commemorations, the focus will be on the protests and it will be a very different occasion to which we envisaged.
“I do not want any protests that will take away from the commemorations, there may be other occasions where it will be appropriate to have protests but I do not think it is an appropriate occasion.”