Metropolitan Police ‘regrets’ arrest of anti-monarchy protesters at coronation

  • london
  • May 8, 2023
  • Comments Off on Metropolitan Police ‘regrets’ arrest of anti-monarchy protesters at coronation
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The Metropolitan Police has said it regrets the arrest of six anti-monarchy protesters ahead of the King’s coronation on Saturday.

Demonstrators from campaign group Republic were taken into police custody as they prepared to hand out placards.

In a lengthy statement, the force explained that officers initially believed the placards could be used as ‘lock-on devices’, which are banned under the new Public Order Bill.

However, they were unable to prove that was the case.

The statement said: ‘The investigation team have now fully examined the items seized and reviewed the full circumstances of the arrest.

‘Those arrested stated the items would be used to secure their placards, and the investigation has been unable to prove intent to use them to lock on and disrupt the event.

‘This evening all six have had their bail cancelled and no further action will be taken.

‘We regret that those six people arrested were unable to join the wider group of protesters in Trafalgar Square and elsewhere on the procession route.’

Graham Smith, the chief executive of Republic, was among those arrested on coronation day and was held by police for 16 hours.

Following his release, he tweeted to say there is ‘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.’

This evening, Mr Smith said a chief inspector and two other officers from the Met went to his home in Reading to apologise to him in person.

He said: ‘I had three officers at my door personally apologising and handing the straps back to me.

Coronation of King Charles III latest

‘They were a chief inspector and two other officers from the Met. They seemed rather embarrassed to be honest.

‘I said for the record I won’t accept the apology. We have a lot of questions to answer and we will be taking action.’

On Twitter earlier today, he called for a ‘full inquiry’ into who authorised the arrests, describing it as a ‘disgraceful episode’.

He and other protesters who were arrested said they were considering legal action against the Met for their treatment.

The police force had been publicly backed by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer before tonight’s statement.

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