Anti-Monarchy Protest Group Sues Police Over Coronation Arrests

coronation protests, london, uk
Anti-Monarchy Group Sues Police Over ArrestsUCG - Getty Images

On the morning of King Charles's coronation, protestors associated with the anti-monarchy group Republic were arrested in London.

Graham Smith, the head of Republic, and five others were held by the Metropolitan Police on suspicion they were going to "lock on," or make themselves hard to move. Yet, per the BBC, "Mr Smith, who was held for more than 14 hours, had discussed the planned demonstration for four months with senior Met staff. He claims to have been physically prevented from calling the Met's designated liaison officer when he was stopped and arrested on 6 May 2023. Two days later, the group were told no further action would be taken."

Smith tells the BBC that the arrests, made under the Public Order Act, were "an appalling attack on the rights of peaceful protesters," and he said he felt they were "part of a deliberate effort to diminish and disrupt our protest." He added, "They certainly had no grounds for arrest or detention, and no grounds for suspecting intent to lock on."

He's now suing the police for damages, costs, and a full apology. In another interview, Smith said, "We expect a full apology and public acknowledgement that the Met got it wrong. There were no grounds for detaining us, searching us or arresting us." In total, there were 64 arrests on Coronation day.

A Scotland Yard spokesperson said in a statement that "We can confirm that a Judicial Review Claim has been issued and it would be inappropriate to comment on ongoing proceedings."

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