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 on Saturday.
There was criticism of the arrest of several opponents of the monarchy from the group "Republic". "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."
"The entire core Republic team is still being held," the group said on Twitter about seven hours after the arrests and the coronation ceremony on Saturday. "They arrested six of our organizers and confiscated hundreds of posters," an activist told the AFP news agency. Among those arrested was Republic leader Graham Smith. He and several associates were taken into custody before they could hold up placards that read "Not My King." "They don't tell us why they arrested them or where they are being held," the Republic activist said.
Smith said last week that the group had no plans to disrupt the actual procession. The protest should only show the world "that we are not a country of loyalists, that there is growing resistance".
In addition to the opponents of the monarchy, at least 19 climate activists from the group Just Stop Oil were arrested in central London on Saturday, the group said. An AFP reporter said several activists were taken away in handcuffs by police on The Mall between Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square.
The human rights organization Human Rights Watch described the arrests as "extremely alarming". "It's something we would expect in Moscow, not in London," the organization said, criticizing the British government for its increasingly negative attitude towards demonstrations.
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).