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Queen Elizabeth today laid a wreath at the site of a British army massacre and was given a rousing welcome by thousands of Sikhs at their holiest shrine.

It was the first time in the royal trip to South Asia, which began in Pakistan more than a week ago, that the queen had made contact with crowds of ordinary people.

At least 8,000 police and paramilitary soldiers had sealed off the 17th-century Golden Temple and the nearby Jallianwala Bagh massacre site.

Despite fears of violence, the visit passed peacefully. A demonstration four hours before the queen arrived was broken up by police, who rounded up 500 protesters.

The queen went first to Jallianwala Bagh, where she was shown the enclosed site where troops under British Gen. Reginald Dyer opened fire on a crowd on April 13, 1919.

She took off her shoes before placing a wreath at the memorial. She then was taken to the Golden Temple, where she was greeted by thousands of Sikhs inside and outside the temple.

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