…By Jack Sylva for TDPel Media.
The leader of Republic, an anti-monarchy campaign group, is considering taking legal action against the Metropolitan Police after over 50 protesters were arrested during the King’s Coronation.
Graham Smith, who was one of those arrested, is accusing the police of unlawful arrest.
Smith claimed that Republic had liaised with the Metropolitan Police for four months before protesting against the Coronation, and officers “had repeatedly said they had no concerns about our plans whatsoever”.
However, the police had warned that they would take action if protesters broke existing laws or breached new powers, such as “locking-on” or causing “serious disruption”.
Protesters from Republic, who had permission to protest at Trafalgar Square, were arrested as officers seized hundreds of ‘Not My King’ placards.
The Metropolitan Police confirmed a total of 64 arrests were made during the force’s Operation Golden Orb, with 32 people arrested for conspiracy to cause a public nuisance, and 14 for breach of the peace.
Smith claimed that officers “arrested us on suspicion of being equipped to lock on, which we were not equipped to do”.
Smith is taking legal advice and stated that if Republic were successful, they would “consider what action we can take next”.
Metropolitan Police Commander Karen Findlay stated that police intervention depends on the context of the protest and the event being protested.
The Coronation is a “once in a generation event”, and she said that protest is lawful, but the police have a duty to intervene when protest becomes criminal and may cause serious disruption.