Queen sees Kuala Lumpur in the middle of ring of steel

      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
      Mahathir Mohamad.

      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
      court house.

      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.