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Man in naked standoff on statue in central London

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RAPHAEL SATTER | November 23, 2012 11:01 AM EST | AP

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LONDON — A naked man clambered atop a large equestrian statue in the heart of London's Whitehall government district Friday, striking a variety of precarious poses before being coaxed down by police nearly three hours later.

London police said that the man, believed to be in his 30s or 40s, first climbed atop the massive bronze statue of the 19th-century duke of Cambridge around noon.

He climbed up and down the statue in the late autumn chill, at one point balancing himself on the duke's head.

The man eventually came down after police and emergency services cordoned off the area, which is home to several government buildings including the prime minister's official residence.

Scotland Yard said the man was detained under Britain's Mental Health Act.