Mon 21 Sep 98 - 10:11 GMT
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 21 (AFP) - Malaysian
security forces threw a huge security ring around
Queen Elizabeth II on Monday to stop mounting political disturbances disrupting her state visit.
While new clashes between supporters
of deposed deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim and
police broke out, the queen went ahead with a formal welcoming ceremony and went up the
world's tallest building.
British officials said they were keeping
in touch "minute-by-minute" with developments in the
The national stadium, where the queen
was to close the Commonwealth Games on Monday
night, loomed as the latest flashpoint in the political battle between Anwar and Prime Minister
Several thousand Anwar supporters planned
a march on the 100,000-seater stadium, where 300
riot police were blocking the main road in rows of 40.
The ceremony is to start at 7:00 p.m. (1100 GMT).
Troops are protecting the royal party
and have blocked roads leading to Carcosa, the former
British high commissioner's residence, which is the queen's base while in Kuala Lumpur.
A spokesman with Foreign Secretary Robin
Cook, who is also in Kuala Lumpur, said: "The
situation is being very closely monitored. There is nothing in our reports to suggest that any
changes are necessary. We are in regular contact with Palace officials."
With heightened security around Parliament
Square, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and King
Tuanku Jafaar watched smiling as the visiting British monarch was greeted with a 21-gun salute
on Monday morning.
Some reports said the king and Mahathir
were booed by bystanders as they drove to the
Half a mile away the riot police and
Anwar supporters clashed outside the main Kuala Lumpur
There were clashes outside the prime
minister's residence on Sunday night following an Anwar
rally that coincided with the queen's arrival.
The queen, wearing a two-piece lilac
outfit and matching hat, seemed relaxed, showing none of
the concern of British officials that she could be drawn into the political conflict.
The British monarch and her husband,
the Duke of Edinburgh, later went to the 86th floor of the
Petronas Towers, the tallest building in the world, and the Commonwealth Games village.
The royal convoy was closely guarded wherever it went.
The British foreign secretary cancelled
a plan to move on to New York on Monday so he could
stay with the queen until the end of her visit on Thursday.
"There is no change in the queen's programme,"
a Buckingham Palace spokesman said before the
latest clashes erupted. "Obviously we will be following the advice of the foreign secretary."
Cook is being kept informed of developments, the spokesman said.
Anwar's wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail appealed
on Sunday night for Cook to speak to the queen,
as head of the Commonwealth, about the detention of her husband.
Anwar, the former protege of the prime
minister, has called for Mahathir to stand down. Anwar
also faces serious accusations of sexual misconduct and sedition.