After almost 16 hours in police custody in London, a leader of the protests against the monarchy was released on Sunday night. In contrast, most of the other activists arrested on Saturday would continue to be held, the British news agency PA reported. The head of the Republic organization, Graham Smith, was present at protests against the coronation of King Charles III on Saturday. been arrested.
After his release, he wrote on Twitter: "Let's not fool ourselves. There is no longer a right to peaceful protest in the United Kingdom." He has often been told that the monarch is there to defend "our freedoms". "Now our liberties are being attacked in his name." He is now waiting for his colleagues who have still been arrested.
The police had been heavily criticized for the arrests. The organization Human Rights Watch said the "incredibly alarming" arrests were more likely to be expected in Moscow than in London. According to the police, 52 people had been arrested for riots, public order violations, conspiracy and disturbance of the peace, among other things.
The British government has recently tightened the right to demonstrate. For example, police officers can already stop rallies if they fear that they will seriously disturb the public.
On the day of the coronation of King Charles III. The police in London arrested a total of 52 people. The reason was crimes such as bodily harm, violations of public order, breach of the peace and "conspiracy to cause a public nuisance". "All of these individuals remain in custody," the Metropolitan Police said.
Human Rights Watch has strongly criticized the arrests of opponents of the monarchy. "This is something you would expect in Moscow, but not in London," Yasmine Ahmed, head of the human rights organization's UK branch, said in a statement. "Peaceful protests allow people to hold those in power accountable. It's something the UK government seems increasingly reluctant to do."
Civil rights activist Peter Tatchell tweeted that the police had erected huge barriers to cover banners critical of the monarchy. "The right to peaceful protest suppressed. Shame!"
Interior Minister thanks police
"We fully understand the public's concerns following the arrests we made this morning," said Chief of Operations Karen Findlay. Protests are lawful and should be disruptive. But the police must intervene if the demonstrations "become criminal and can cause serious disruption," Findlay said. "It depends on the context. The coronation is an event of a generation and that is an important aspect of our assessment."
Interior Secretary Suella Braverman thanked the police for their efforts. "It was a magnificent procession and ceremony enjoyed by tens of thousands of people across London," said the Conservative politician. "It was a great tribute to our country and our monarchy." The government recently tightened the right to demonstrate again. For example, police officers can ban protests if they expect them to disrupt public order.
A total of around 11,500 officers were deployed in the British capital. The cost of the security measures is estimated at £150m (€170m).