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IMMINENT WARNING: Potential for Unrest During Operation London Bridge

Date: September 10, 2022

Elvire Vérant, Matthew Bauer, Pètra van de Gevel, Keanna Grelicha, Paula Ruiz Crespo, Peter Roberto, Christie Hui, Seif Harrasy

Justin Maurina, Editor; Hannah Norton, Senior Editor



Map of UK[1]



Event: On September 8, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom died at Balmoral Castle in the Scottish Highlands.[2] The Queen's passing initiated Operation Unicorn which outlines ceremonial procedures in Edinburgh, where the Queen’s coffin will stay for a day, before being transported from Balmoral to London on the Royal Train on Tuesday, September 13.[3] Operation London Bridge, which details the arrangements occurring in the 10 days following her death, will begin when the Queen enters England.[4] The UK government warns of public safety concerns, such as significant crowding and public transportation delays, as massive crowds are expected in London for the next 10 days to pay tribute to the Queen.[5] These concerns specifically warn about the threats to large crowds attending the procession of the Queen’s coffin from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster, where the body of the Queen will stay for four days.[6] During this time, King Charles III will tour Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, visiting the leaders of the UK’s constituent countries.[7]


Significance: Civilians, politicians, and celebrities, from the UK and abroad, will almost certainly travel to Edinburgh and London to pay tribute to the Queen, very likely creating opportunities for terrorist attacks by organized threat actors, such as vehicular attacks, knife attacks, bombings, or shootings. Potential terrorists will almost certainly seek to maximize civilian casualties, very likely by targeting the large public crowds attending the events or those using public transits with limited security measures. Possible terrorists can almost certainly coordinate attacks due to the publication of the official mourning period. Terrorist organizations and lone wolf attackers will likely target service events, such as those occurring at Edinburgh’s St. Giles Cathedral, Westminster Hall, and Westminster Abbey, as royal family members and political figures are attending.[8] King Charles III's tour has a roughly even chance of drawing organized groups like the Real Irish Republican Army (RIRA) and its offshoots who will likely protest the monarchy and the transition to King Charles III. Anti-monarchical protestors will likely incite violent unrest online and during public events, likely increasing online hate speech among those who have experienced British imperialism. The online rhetoric regarding British colonialism, religious persecution, and white supremacy actions against Asian, Caribbean, and African populations will very likely result in additional groups forming protests within the UK.[9] These potential protests will very likely formulate online chat rooms to organize attacks during the events with a roughly even chance of increasing lone wolf attacks by those likely inspired by the chat rooms.


Recommendations

  • The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) recommends that additional operational support is brought into London, such as the transfer of police officers, medical aid from neighboring cities, and security agents from the private sector, to prepare for the high number of people expected to gather throughout the Queen’s memorial services.

  • People attending gatherings should remain highly alert and report suspicious behaviors to the nearest agents. Safe distances should be kept to avoid stampedes and violent movements of panic.

  • UK’s police officers and intelligence services should monitor Deep Web platforms that host extremist and conspiracist groups, like Telegram, 8chan, and Reddit, to track any violent discourse and potential elaboration of terrorist attacks toward civilians, authorities, government members, the royal family, or foreign politicians.

  • If there is any additional and or critical information please contact us at The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) by Telephone at 202-643-248 or email at info@counterterrorismgroup.com

 

The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)


[1]United Kingdom and Ireland location map” by Hogweard licensed under CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

[2] Queen Elizabeth II has died, BBC, September 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-61585886

[3] Operation Unicorn is unfolding after the Queen’s death in Scotland. Here’s what happens next, Australian Broadcasting Corporation News, September 2022, https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-09-09/operation-unicorn-begins-following-queen-elizabeth-ii-death/101421740

[4] What happens next after the Queen’s death?, The Times, September 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/bee5f3f6-192e-11eb-8493-5b46eb56a071?shareToken=6934d49731e9706731e7b0868e64aa7a

[5] UK government warns of 'risks to public safety' as crowds gather to mourn the Queen, Insider, September 2022, https://www.insider.com/queen-death-uk-government-makes-public-safety-crowd-warning-2022-9

[6] Ibid

[7] What happens next after the Queen’s death?, The Times, September 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/bee5f3f6-192e-11eb-8493-5b46eb56a071?shareToken=6934d49731e9706731e7b0868e64aa7a

[8] Plans for the Queen's lying in state and funeral, BBC, September 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-60617519

[9] Queen Elizabeth's death revives criticism of Britain's legacy of colonialism, NBC, September 2022, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/queen-elizabeths-death-revives-criticism-britains-legacy-colonialism-rcna46942

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