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British Police Defuse Bomb Found in Central London

British police have defused a bomb found in an abandoned car parked in London's busy theater district. The device was discovered early Friday, just hours after Britain's new prime minister, Gordon Brown, announced his cabinet. For VOA, Tom Rivers has details.

Witnesses report seeing a man driving erratically down a street near London's famous Piccadilly Circus intersection. They say the driver then ploughed into garbage cans outside an American Express foreign exchange office and fled into the night.

At least one gas cylinder was found inside the vehicle and the bomb squad was called in to examine the car.

In a statement, London police said officers discovered what they called "a potentially viable explosive device" that they then defused.

Anti-terrorist and forensic teams then closely examined the vehicle before it was taken away from the scene.

Early morning traffic was severely disrupted in parts of west London as the investigators gathered evidence from the cordoned-off area.

On Friday, new Prime Minister Gordon Brown chaired an emergency security meeting where the latest details were discussed.

The first duty of a government is the security of the people and as the police and security services have said on so many occasions, we face a serious and continued security threat to our country," he said. "We should allow the police to investigate this incident and then report to us. But this incident does recall the need for us to be vigilant at all times and the public to be alert at any potential incidents.

Next week, Britain marks the second anniversary of July 7, 2005 London transit bombings, in which four Muslim suicide bombers set off explosions that killed 52 bus and subway passengers, as well as themselves.