By Bob Sherwood
It feels like the calm before the storm at the Excel Centre today. The area is thronged with yellow-jacketed police and community support officers who are clearly on heightened alert but with hardly anyone to marshal. The FT’s photographer was stopped and searched twice by Met officers this morning as we garnered opinions about the G20 among the local community. At one point he was surrounded by five bicycle officers who wanted to see the images on his camera. Our credentials were checked over the police radio.
The front of the Excel Centre is already coned off and some roads are closed. Police vans and trucks, including the underwater and confined space search unit, are on pretty much every surrounding road. No protesters have arrived in the area yet, though.
Most locals seem bemused by the attention and are fearful of the disruption. They don’t quite know what to expect over the next couple of days, but most are not looking forward to it. Apart from Ayoub Mzee, who is walking around Custom House high street in a Barack Obama inauguration cap.
“The big chief is coming to my town,” he says excitedly.
Bob Sherwood is the FT’s London and south-east correspondent