Met ‘regrets’ arresting anti-monarchy protesters during coronation

The Metropolitan Police mentioned on Monday evening that it “regrets” arresting six anti-monarchy protesters at Saturday’s coronation, hours after Rishi Sunak backed the pressure’s dealing with of the occasion.

The Met made 64 arrests on Saturday and had been criticised by some opposition politicians for allegedly cracking down on authentic protest and stifling free speech.

At 9pm on Monday evening the pressure issued a press release saying it regretted the arrests of six individuals, together with the chief govt of Republic, the anti-monarchy group, below new public order legal guidelines.

The Met additionally confirmed that one member of the group had been working with the pressure’s “protest liaison” unit earlier than the coronation, to make sure that the protest may go forward.

Sunak had earlier backed the safety operation, saying the police had been operationally unbiased of presidency and “make these choices based mostly on what they suppose is greatest”.

Protesters on Whitehall through the coronation © by way of REUTERS

“I’m grateful to the police and everybody who performed a component in guaranteeing that this weekend has gone so effectively, so efficiently and so safely,” he mentioned.

The Met mentioned its officers had been briefed to be “extraordinarily vigilant and proactive” in response to safety assessments that the coronation is perhaps significantly disrupted.

Amongst six individuals arrested at 6.40am on Saturday was Republic chief govt Graham Smith, who mentioned he would take authorized motion towards police after no expenses had been introduced towards him.

Smith mentioned a chief inspector and two different officers visited his Studying residence on Monday night to situation the apology. He advised PA information company: “They appeared fairly embarrassed, to be trustworthy.

“I mentioned, for the document, I gained’t settle for the apology. Now we have lots of inquiries to reply and we shall be taking motion.”

Graham Smith, head of Republic
Graham Smith, head of Republic: ‘Now we have lots of inquiries to reply and we shall be taking motion’ © AP

The Met mentioned a overview of the case discovered no proof that the six protesters had been planning to “lock on” — a protesting tactic when individuals glue or lock themselves to things. It’s now banned.

The Met mentioned in a press release: “These arrested said the objects could be used to safe their placards, and the investigation has been unable to show intent to make use of them to lock on and disrupt the occasion.

“This night all six have had their bail cancelled and no additional motion shall be taken. We remorse that these six individuals arrested had been unable to affix the broader group of protesters in Trafalgar Sq. and elsewhere on the procession route.”

The Met mentioned that at the least one of many group had been partaking with the pressure’s Protest Liaison Group earlier than the occasion. “The Protest Liaison Group weren’t the arresting officers nor had been they current in St Martin’s Lane on the time of the arrest,” it added.

The problem is prone to be taken up by MPs when the Home of Commons returns on Tuesday after a brief “coronation recess”.

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