UK Sees Anti-Monarchy Protests As Charles Proclaimed King, 2 Arrested


Amid the proclamation ceremonies for Britain’s new king Charles III, the country is also witnessing sporadic anti-monarchy protests, and two such protesters have been arrested since Sunday in separate incidents, British media reported.

In the Scottish capital of Edinburgh, a small group of protesters could be seen booing at a proclamation of ‘God Save the King’ Sunday, and a 22-year-old woman was arrested for holding up a sign calling for the abolition of the monarchy , The Independent reported.

In Oxford, the Thames Valley Police reportedly arrested a man after he called out “Who elected him (Charles)?” near a ceremony being held to mark the new monarch’s accession.

Near St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh, where the queen’s coffin was due to lie in state Monday, a man was heard booing loudly during the proclamation.

Across the UK, proclamations were read in ceremonies to formally announce that the queen had died and the new king had acceded to the throne, as part of an age-old tradition.

While hundreds of royal fans had turned out to watch these ceremonies, some people chose the occasion to put across their disapproval of the new king or monarchy in general.

‘Draconian Atmosphere’

Symon Hill, who was detained in Oxford and was later “de-arrested” after being told that he would be called for an interview in the presence of a lawyer at a later date, said the police were abusing their powers, according to the Independent report.

Alleging that the new police and crime law had created a “draconian atmosphere”, he said this has “significantly reduced free expression and harmed democracy”.

Hill, a history teacher and peace activist, told The Independent that he was alarmed and scared when the police arrested him because he did not know what his crime was.

“There was an expression of mourning. I certainly wouldn’t interrupt that. When they announced Charles would be Charles III, I called out ‘Who elected him?’ A couple of people told me to shut up and I responded but didn’t insult them.”

He said a security guard instantly came forward asking him to be quiet, even as other guards pushed him backwards. Hill said he was eventually told that he was being detained under the new police and crime law.

The police, meanwhile, said Hill was arrested for “on suspicion of a public order offence”.

“A 45-year-old man was arrested in connection with a disturbance that was caused during the county proclamation ceremony of King Charles III in Oxford. He has later been de-arrested and is engaging with us voluntarily as we investigate a public order offence,” a Thames Valley police spokesperson was quoted as saying in a report in The Guardian.

The police said Hill was arrested under Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986, which applies to behavior that is “deemed likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress”, according to the report.

‘Free Speech’ Vs ‘Respect’ Debate

Opinions were divided on the protests. While some people backed free speech, others said they were disrespectful.

The crowd in Edinburgh applauded when the woman protester was arrested, the report said, adding that mourners at the gathering called the hecklers disrespectful.

One man, however, shouted: “Let her go, it’s free speech.”

While sporadic protesting voices were indeed heard at the Edinburgh event, chants of ‘God Save the King’ drowned them out, said a Daily Mail report.

According to the report, while the police said the woman was arrested for “a breach of the peace”, the Scottish Community & Activist Legal Project later said police were being “heavy-handed”.


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