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Londoners continue protest against Qatari emir’s visit to Britain

LONDON: The protest against the Qatari emir’s visit to Britain hit the streets of London for a second day on Tuesday, but this time on the back of a flatbed truck.

The vehicle carrying a large billboard was spotted driving slowly past the gates at the end of Downing entrance to Downing Street, where the emir was having a lunchtime meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May.

The billboard had a large portrait of the Qatari ruler, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, alongside a message which read: “If a country was accused of paying $1billion in ransom to terrorist groups, should they be welcome in the UK? Then why is the UK government rolling out the red carpet for the Qatari emir?”

The same message was on some of the placards waved by protesters outside the Qatari Embassy in London’s Mayfair on Monday.

The van had been hired from M Media Group, a company based in Bournemouth. Driver Chris Harris said he was given instructions to drive around parts of central London from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The emir arrived at Number 10 Downing Street just after midday for a meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May.

Horseguards Road, the road between Downing Street and St. James Park, was closed off to rehearse Sheikh Tamim’s journey to Buckingham Palace, which is believed to be scheduled for Wednesday.

The emir arrived in Britain on Sunday and has already had meetings with business leaders and government ministers, including Minister of State for the Middle East Alastair Burt.

On Monday, around 100 people staged a protest against the Qatar visit outside the Houses of Parliament, while he addressed the British-Qatari parliamentary group.

The BBC recently broadcast an expose of Qatar’s dealings with the Iraqi Shiite militia Kata’ib Hezbollah, which has been designated a terrorist organization. The program revealed new evidence that Doha had paid more than $1 billion to Kata’ib Hezbollah in return for the release of 28 Qataris who had been kidnapped while on a hunting trip in southern Iraq.

Arab News approached M Media Group for a comment but they did not respond.
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