Thousands of people have queued in London to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II, ahead of her funeral
Over the weekend, lines extended along the Thames beyond Tower Bridge, as mourners came from far and wide.
Thousands of police, hundreds of troops and an army of officials made final preparations for the state funeral.
It will also be the biggest gathering of world leaders for years.
Joe Biden arrives
U.S. President Joe Biden and other dignitaries are in London for the funeral, to which around 2000 royals, heads of state and heads of government from around the globe have been invited.
From across the UK, and around the world, they came to say goodbye.
The queue stretching along the Thames, as far as the eye could see, so they could see their beloved monarch, one last time.
From the common man, to the sportsman, David Beckham joining the queues and shedding a tear by the coffin.
World leaders arrive
Britain’s airports were busy too, as thousands of foreign dignitaries arrived in London.
President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden arrived, their motorcade speeding through London’s streets to Westminster Hall .. to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth.
They signed a condolence book at Lancaster House.
The First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, was in tears as she visited Westminster Hall.
She them met with the Princess of Wales at Buckingham Palace.
Other distinguished Heads of States, including the President of France, Bulgaria, Singapore and Nigeria, plus Prime Ministers from across the commonwealth, entered Westminster Hall to pay their respects to the monarch.
They arrived at Buckingham Palace by bus for a diplomatic reception hosted by the new King.
Earlier, the queen’s eight grandchildren, led by heir to the throne Prince William, circled the coffin and stood with heads bowed during a silent vigil.
The miles-long queue was closed to new arrivals late Sunday so that everyone in line can file past the coffin before the funeral.
This is the first state funeral in London since Winston Churchill died in 1965. And with thousands of world leaders in attendance, it’s a necessary, but security nightmare for the British security services.
If you are planning to visit Buckingham Palace today, please note you will not be able to access the area in front of the main gate. Those wishing to pay their respects can visit the Floral Tribute Garden in Hyde Park. pic.twitter.com/TqB5VqgYwK
— The Royal Parks (@theroyalparks) September 18, 2022
But this is a well rehearsed plan, and London has had years to prepare.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan says it one of the first things he was prepared for when he took the top job.
“If you think about the London marathon, the carnival, previous royal weddings, the Olympics – it’s all that in one.”
The size of the crowds turning out to farewell the queen is impossible to predict, but with unprecedented crowds lining for almost a day to view her coffin, police aren’t taking any chances.
An estimated 4 billion people are expected to watch the funeral on television, as the eyes of the world turn to London.
Porn floods Twitter “China” search
Twitter users have been finding it hard to search for information on the social media platform due to an explosion of pornographic spam.
While thousands of protests against extended lockdowns, a digital bot army has roared into action on Twitter, with long-dormant Chinese language accounts suddenly tweeting links to escort services and other adult content.
Anyone trying to track the spontaneous protest movement on Twitter complained about the deluge of spam pornographic content making flooding the search for information.
The China protests come at a time when Twitter’s content and moderation teams have been pared back drastically following Elon Musk’s $44 billion takeover of the social media giant.
Twitter, along with other international social media services like Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, is blocked by Beijing’s internet censors within Mainland China.
Biden silence on China protests
As citizens across China revolt against the country’s “zero Covid” policy, the White House issued a statement about the growing protests.
“‘We’ve long said everyone has the right to peacefully protest, in the United States and around the world,’ a White House National Security Council spokesperson said in a statement.
‘This includes in the [People’s Republic of China.]’
“‘Zero COVID is not a policy we are pursuing here,’ the spokesperson said.
‘And as we’ve said, we think it’s going to be very difficult for the People’s Republic of China to be able to contain this virus through their zero COVID strategy.’”
Commentators have noted that the statement came from the White House, and not President Biden himself.
Demonstrators are calling on President Joe Biden to take a stance and publicly support their cause.
The protests have continued despite numerous attempts by the Chinese government to quell them.
China protests hit global markets, crypto
The protests in China are having a negative impact on cryptocurrencies and markets around the world.
Bitcoin failed to break its descent and fell more than 3 percent.
The global crypto market cap fell over 2%, sending major cryptos into the red.
Over the last 24 hours, overall crypto market volume grew by 22%.
It comes amid a round of investor nervousness in global markets spurred by protests in China against Covid restrictions.
Protesters outraged by harsh COVID-19 regulations called for China’s strong leader to quit.
China is the world’s second-largest economy and has a significant impact on global financial markets.
Stocks and cryptos aren’t considered safe havens, leading to bearing price action.
Analysts are hoping for a sharp bullish reversal if and when the protests end.
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