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2 comments   Listen   Print   article:337568:14::0
In the Media

article imageVid: Naked man straddles Prince George's statue, Whitehall closed

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London - On a cold, windy day, a man climbed to the top of the 30 ft statue of Prince George, the Duke of Cambridge in Whitehall. He stripped naked and shouted down at sightseers as he struck acrobatic poses on top of the statue.
The unexpected spectacle that began around midday, forced London police to close down about 100 meters of road between the Houses of Parliament and Trafalgar Square while officers tried to make the man come down.
It took nearly three hours before he climbed down. Police took him away in a van.
While his three hours of fame atop the Duke of Cambridge lasted, hundreds of sightseers snapped pictures. He balanced precariously more than 30 ft from the ground on top of the statue's plume with arms outstretched. BBC reports that at a point, he snapped off Prince George's sword and began waving it in the air before throwing it down.
Later, he sat with his naked bottom on top of poor George's head.
The Daily Mail reports that a witness, Richard, who owns a stand nearby, said the man had been acting strangely before he climbed the statue. He said: "He was walking around this one acting weird, just sniffing around. Then he starting walking down the middle of the road and just started running towards the statue - he was legging it. He literally just scampered up there very quickly. He climbed up and sat down on it and then got undressed. He ruined our business for the day."
According to the BBC, a tourist Lydia Kassa, 23, saw the man on the statue at 13:00 GMT. She said: "I just laughed. It's an experience. We didn't expect to see a naked man."
David Lee, a civil servant, exclaimed: "It's amazing that someone can cause this much disruption! Perhaps the cold finally got to him, or the wind finally got to him."
Yahoo! News reports a passer by said: "We had to get out of the cab because it couldn't get through - we didn't expect this. It's hilarious, we'll it's obviously not funny for people who can't get through but climbing a statue with no clothes on is one way to bring London to a standstill."
The Telegraph reports that Savannah Severn, a school girl, said she was going to the National Portrait Gallery when she looked up and saw a man on the statue. "There were police on horses pushing the crowd back and firemen were trying to get him down. I was really shocked but it was quite funny. It looked like he was posing and he had his arms stretched out wide."
Police said the man's motive for the "extravagant display of public nudity" remains unclear. He was not arrested but detained under the Mental Health Act at a London hospital, the Daily Mail reports.
Many business owners were upset at the loss of business that resulted. An employee with a business in the area said businesses lost thousands of pounds during the time police closed the road.
He said: "We should be absolutely full and it's killed us because they closed the road right off."
He could not understand why the police had to respond to "one naked man" on top of a statue with "two fire engines, eight squad cars and four mounted police."
But a Scotland Yard spokesman explained: "You apply the appropriate amount of policing for the situation. Obviously in a situation like this, public safety is paramount."
BBC reports that the statue is being assessed for damage.
article:337568:14::0
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