Coronation arrest number jumps to 64 as four people charged

  • london
  • May 8, 2023
  • Comments Off on Coronation arrest number jumps to 64 as four people charged
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A total of 64 people were arrested in London during the coronation of King Charles, prompting fears of the future of civil liberties in Britain.

The Metropolitan Police had previously said 52 arrests were made on Saturday, including council volunteers handing out rape alarms to women.

In its latest update, the force added four people had been charged over various offences, including over a religiously aggravated public order allegation and class A drugs possession.

Officers preemptively began arresting protesters for turning up with placards that read ‘Not my king’ at The Mall.

This comes after the government pushed through new powers to curb the rights to protest just days before the Buckingham Palace procession.

Among those held was the head of the group Republic, which wants to scrap the monarchy and elect a head of state.

Graham Smith, who was released on Saturday evening after 16 hours in custody, rejected suggestions that his arrest along with other protesters was necessary to limit disruption, calling it ‘disgraceful’.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘That’s not an excuse to rob people of their rights.

‘It’s not an excuse to arrest people and detain them for 16 hours because some people want to enjoy a party.

‘That’s a disgraceful suggestion and frankly this is a political issue and therefore obviously it’s going to face protest.’

Mr Smith stressed that the new law means that people ‘no longer have the right to protest’.

Coronation of King Charles III latest

He added: ‘We only have the freedom to protest contingent on the permission of senior police officers and politicians.

‘It’s my view that those senior police officers were under immense pressure from politicians.’

Republic said on Twitter that six members including were arrested and hundreds of placards seized on Saturday morning despite previously liaising with Scotland Yard.

Labour frontbencher Andrew Gwynne also said the Act gave ‘disproportionate’ powers to the police but declined to commit the party to repealing it if it enters government.

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London who is responsible for policing, admitted some of the arrests ‘raise questions’.

But culture secretary Lucy Frazer defended the force as having got the ‘balance right’ and said arrests were necessary during the ‘international event on the world stage’.

Ken Marsh, head of the Metropolitan Police Federation representing officers from the rank of constable to chief inspector, said police were acting ‘impartially’ on the powers they have.

‘Protesting can take place in this country but it’s the level to which you want to perform that protest that we have to balance and deal with what’s put in front of us impartially. That’s what was done,’ he told Today.

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