UK anti-monarchy leader freed after coronation arrest
The head of an anti-monarchy group who was arrested before a protest at King Charles III’s coronation has been released from police custody.
This was disclosed by the group in a statement on Sunday May 7, 2023.
The group reported that its chief executive, Graham Smith, was released around 16 hours after being initially detained.
Chief executive Graham Smith was one of more than 50 people detained this week as a result of new laws that the UK government hurriedly effected in an effort to suppress direct action organizations’ rallies.
The arrests, which included participants in a local women’s safety team that the force supports, led to criticism of the Metropolitan Police in London.
Last month, the Daily Mail newspaper reported that protesters were planning to throw rape alarms to spook horses taking part in the parade, which included military bands.
It was also reported that climate change activists from the Just Stop Oil group were planning to disrupt the event.
Just Stop Oil members were among those picked up on Saturday.
Republic’s Smith, who last week told reporters he and other members had no plans to disrupt the procession.
The protest went ahead, with opponents waving “Not My King” placards and booing.
“Make no mistake. There is no longer a right to peaceful protest in the UK,” Smith tweeted.
“I have been told many times the monarch is there to defend our freedoms. Now our freedoms are under attack in his name.”
Human rights groups likened the arrests to those in authoritarian states but police defended their tactics, claiming it was “proportionate… in line with relevant legislation” after public concern.
London has been repeatedly targeted in recent years by direct action groups.
Hardline interior minister Suella Braverman promised police more powers to stop protesters using “guerilla tactics”.