Civil rights activists and politicians have sharply criticized the crackdown by the London police on opponents of the monarchy at the coronation celebrations for King Charles III. reacted. Opposition Labor MP Richard Burgon said he was "deeply concerned". His party colleague Zarah Sultana emphasized: "Whatever one thinks of the monarchy, the right to peaceful protest is fundamental to democracy."
On Sunday night, the head of the anti-monarchy group Republic, Graham Smith, was released from police custody after around 16 hours. The organization said his cell phone was confiscated. Government officials praised the police for their "balanced" efforts.
Smith wrote on Twitter: "Let's not kid ourselves. There is no longer a right to peaceful protest in the UK." He has often been told that the monarch is there to defend "our freedoms". "Now our liberties are being attacked in his name." The organization Human Rights Watch had already criticized on Saturday that the "incredibly alarming" arrests were more likely to be expected in Moscow than in London.
According to their own statements, the London police arrested a total of 52 people on Saturday, among other things for riots, violations of public order and disturbance of the peace. The British government recently tightened the right to demonstrate. For example, police officers can stop rallies if they fear serious disruption.
Chief of Operations Karen Findlay defended the approach as proportionate. She confirmed the right to peaceful protest. At the same time, Findlay emphasized that the police must intervene if demonstrations could cause serious disruption. "It depends on the context. The coronation is an event of a generation and that is an important aspect of our assessment," she said.
Protests also in Cardiff and Glasgow
This justification was sharply criticized. Labor leader Jess Philips said "our nation and our King are not so vulnerable that they cannot take harmless protests with different views".
On Saturday, people in several British cities held peaceful protests against the coronation of King Charles III. demonstrated. Hundreds of people gathered in London not far from the procession route. There were also protests in the Welsh capital Cardiff and the Scottish city of Glasgow. Fans of the home team whistled the British anthem at Liverpool FC's Premier League game against Brentford.