Anti-monarchy chief released by Met Police after 16 hours in jail cell

  • london
  • May 7, 2023
  • Comments Off on Anti-monarchy chief released by Met Police after 16 hours in jail cell
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A protester who was arrested before the coronation of King Charles III even began has been released from custody after nearly 16 hours.

Graham Smith is chief of anti-monarchy group Republic and hundreds of its members were seen wearing bright yellow t-shirts and holding signs reading ‘not my king’ during the coronation yesterday.

Mr Smith was arrested on Friday morning along with five other Republic protesters before the event even began, with the Metropolitan Police seizing dozens of placards.

He was released at around 11pm yesterday evening after spending around 16 hours in police custody.

Mr Smith said on Twitter that there was ‘no longer a right to peaceful protest in the UK’, adding: ‘I have been told many times the monarch is there to defend our freedoms. Now our freedoms are under attack in his name.’

The Met Police said 52 people were arrested yesterday for affray, public order offences, breach of the peace, and conspiracy to cause a public nuisance around the coronation.

Mr Smith says the majority of fellow Republic protesters are still being held.

The force has been heavily criticised over the arrests, with Human Rights Watch UK likening them to ‘something you would expect to see in Moscow, not London’.

Speaking on Sky News this morning Daisy Cooper, deputy leader of the Lib Dems, said she was ‘concerns’ police had not got the balance right, adding: ‘What worries is me is that the Conservative government have now increased these sort of wide-ranging powers.

‘What they haven’t done is enshrined the sort of legal responsibility and the duty on the police to actually facilitate peaceful protest.’



Coronation of King Charles III latest

Met Police commander Karen Findlay acknowledged concerns about the arrest of protesters but defended its actions, saying: ‘Our duty is to do so in a proportionate manner in line with relevant legislation.

‘Protest is lawful and it can be disruptive.

‘We also have a duty to intervene when protest becomes criminal and may cause serious disruption.

Meanwhile Tory culture secretary Lucy Frazer told Sky News: ‘What they had to do was to police an international event on the world stage and I think they took that into account in their policing.

‘What they have to do is balance the right to protest, which is important in a democracy. At the same time there’s the right of all those other people to enjoy what was a fabulous day.

‘I think, overall, they managed to get that balance right.’

Six Republic protesters were arrested in total, while 13 of the 52 arrested were from Just Stop Oil, 14 people were arrested in east London, three in Soho, three at Wellington Arch, and six in Whitehall.

Metro.co.uk has contacted the Met Police to find out whether any further Republic protesters have been charged or released from custody.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

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