...By Joseph Benjamin for TDPel Media.
Home Office Minister Chris Philp has rejected criticism of the Metropolitan Police’s handling of anti-monarchy protests during the coronation celebrations, stating that comparing the policing in London to Russia was an “insult” to those being oppressed by the Putin regime.
The Commons Home Affairs Committee is expected to review the policing of the event, including the use of the Public Order Act to arrest members of the group Republic.
Human Rights Watch has criticized the event, saying that it was something you would expect to see in Moscow, not London.
Opposition MPs criticise government for impeding right to protest:
Opposition MPs have criticized the government for impeding people’s right to protest.
SNP MP Kirsten Oswald accused the government of introducing the “draconian” Public Order Act 2023, which gave forces greater powers to combat guerrilla protest tactics.
She argued that given only 6% of those arrested for protesting against the coronation were actually charged with anything at all, the new legislation is nothing but an advert for how to impede people’s right to protest.
Minister rejects comparison to Russia:
In response to criticisms, Mr. Philp argued that comparing the policing of the coronation to Russia is an “insult” to those being oppressed in Putin’s Russia, such as opposition figures who are incarcerated and suffering from appalling and inhumane treatment.
He defended the police’s handling of the event and stated that those unhappy with their arrest can make a complaint and seek redress.
Conservative MPs defend the police’s handling of the event:
Conservative MPs defended the police’s handling of the event, with former minister Michael Ellis saying that they did an “excellent job in very difficult circumstances”.
James Daly, Conservative MP for Bury North, argued that it is reassuring that, for once, the Metropolitan Police acted on the side of the hard-working public who want to enjoy events rather than being the victims of left-wing protest groups.
Conservative MP Michael Fabricant claimed that morale among police officers is at “rock bottom” when apologies are issued for them following instructions.
Concerns over protections for journalistic freedom:
Several MPs raised concerns over reports of a journalist being detained by police at the coronation, given that protections for journalistic freedom are included in the Public Order Act.
Mr. Philp acknowledged the protections but argued that there is a complaints process in place for individuals who feel they were not fairly or properly treated.
Analysis and commentaries:
The criticism of the police’s handling of the coronation protests, particularly in relation to the use of the Public Order Act to arrest members of Republic, reflects wider concerns about the right to protest and the government’s approach to civil liberties.
The Public Order Act has been criticized for giving the police greater powers to limit peaceful protest and stifle dissent, with some arguing that it is a significant threat to civil liberties.
The comparison to Russia highlights the potential dangers of excessive policing and the need to protect the right to protest and freedom of expression.
However, the government has defended its approach and argued that the police acted appropriately in difficult circumstances.