Met Police 'regrets' arrests of six protesters ahead of coronation

Met Police ‘regrets’ arrests of six protesters ahead of King’s Coronation as Scotland Yard reveals no further action will be taken

  • Met Police says it ‘regrets’ arresting six anti-monarchy protesters on Saturday
  • The force was threatened with legal action after no charges were brought 

Scotland Yard has expressed ‘regret’ over the arrests of six anti-monarchy protesters ahead of the King’s coronation after being threatened with legal action when no charges were brought.

Republic chief executive Graham Smith on Monday demanded a ‘full inquiry’ into who authorised the arrests that prevented the group expressing their dissent during the ‘disgraceful episode’.

The Metropolitan Police issued a lengthy defence as it confirmed Mr Smith and five others have been told they face no further action after being arrested on Saturday and bailed.

Graham Smith, chief executive of campaign group Republic, was among those arrested. He described it as a ‘disgraceful episode’ and added legal advice is being sought

The force said it had arrested the group under new powers after it was believed items found alongside a large number of placards could be used as ‘lock on devices’.

‘The investigation team have now fully examined the items seized and reviewed the full circumstances of the arrest,’ a statement added.

Caroline Russell, who chairs the London Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee, suggested that it was ‘really worrying’ that some arrests had happened

Graham Smith, chief executive of campaign group Republic, was among those arrested. He described it as a ‘disgraceful episode’ and added legal advice is being sought

‘Those arrested stated the items would be used to secure their placards, and the investigation has been unable to prove intent to use them to lock on and disrupt the event.


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‘This evening all six have had their bail cancelled and no further action will be taken. We regret that those six people arrested were unable to join the wider group of protesters in Trafalgar Square and elsewhere on the procession route.’

Earlier today, the Prime Minister defended the Metropolitan Police over Coronation arrests as the force faces a probe over its ‘heavy-handed’ treatment of protesters.

The Prime Minister shared his gratitude for Scotland Yard after Saturday’s operation to crackdown on crime during the crowning of King Charles.

He backed its decisions to make a total of 64 arrests, adding that officers ‘make these decisions based on what they think is best’.

His thoughts come after Caroline Russell, who chairs the London Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee, suggested that it was ‘really worrying’ that some arrests had been made. 

Speaking with broadcasters in Hertfordshire, Sunak said: ‘The police are operationally independent of Government, they’ll make these decisions based on what they think is best.

Police were seen scouring vans with hundreds of Not My King banners 

Just over 30 people were arrested for conspiracy to cause a public nuisance. Pictured, one activist is taken away on The Mall

A Republic activist is questioned and searched by police following protests on The Mall 

A police officer searches a woman following protests by Republic activists 

‘Actually I’m grateful to the police and everyone who played a part in ensuring that this weekend has gone so well, so successfully and so safely. That was an extraordinary effort by so many people and I’m grateful to them for all their hard work.’

He later added: ‘No other country in the world could put on such a dazzling spectacle and it was a proud expression of our history, our culture, our tradition and also a reflection of the modern character of our country.

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‘It was deeply moving to be in the coronation service and incredibly uplifting and it was an experience I think nobody will forget for the rest of their lives.’

Earlier today, Scotland Yard confirmed that a total of 64 arrests were made during King Charles’ Coronation, with four people charged.

Dozens were arrested during the crowning of His Majesty on Saturday as Scotland Yard clamped down on those suspected of causing trouble in London. Breach of the peace, sexual assault and conspiracy to cause a public nuisance were among the various grounds for arrest on the day.

Several Just Stop Oil protesters were arrested in addition to members from Animal Rising groups who were also linked to the Grand National chaos last month. Campaigners of the anti-monarchist group Republic, including its chief executive Graham Smith, were apprehended during the day too. 

On BBC’s Today programme, Ms Russell expressed that some of these arrests were ‘very odd’. 

Her concerns come after the arrest of two women and a man following accusations of a plot to throw rape alarms at horses during the Coronation.

She said: ‘It seems absolutely extraordinary that those people who were volunteering, they were out there handing out flip flops to people who could no longer walk in their high heels because they’d had a bit too much to drink and handing out rape alarms.’

A protester holding up a ‘Not My King’ sign during a demonstration on the day of the Coronation

Scotland Yard also arrested 14 people for the breaching the peace on Saturday 

A protester wearing a yellow ‘Abolish the Monarchy’ T-shirt is searched by police officers

Scotland Yard revealed that 32 people were arrested for conspiracy to cause a public nuisance, who have all since been bailed.

Another 14 others were arrested for a breach of peace who have since been bailed.

Among others bailed include a person arrested for handling stolen goods, another on suspicion of sexual assault and another individual arrested for common assault. 

Just four people of the 64 arrests made have so far been charged with offences, Scotland Yard said yesterday evening. 

Ms Russell continued: ‘It just seems extraordinary that they got caught up in the Met’s safety net. How? It just feels very odd.

‘The Police and Crime Committee, we question the mayor, Mopac (Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime) and the Metropolitan Police, we meet every fortnight, so of course we will be questioning this because I’m sure members of all parties will want to have their questions answered.’ 

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has also demanded ‘clarity’ from the force’s leaders on the arrests. 

Yesterday however, Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation Ken Marsh said he was ‘flabbergasted’ that officers were facing a backlash on clamping down on those who allegedly sought to ruin the historic occasion.

He claimed that officers had ‘foiled a number of scenarios’ – including defacing public monuments with paint, breaching barriers and disrupting official movements.

Met Police officers also shared they arrested three people in Soho on suspicion of conspiracy to commit public nuisance at around 2am on the morning of King Charles’ Coronation.

The force revealed that numerous rape alarms were seized and that three people were taken to a south London police station for further questioning.

Metropolitan Police arrests come amidst concerns surrounding the right to protest in the UK. A man is apprehended by police on Saturday

Protesters hold up placards saying ‘Not My King’ in Trafalgar Square 

Anti monarchy protest material being confiscated by police in central London

A 47-year-old man among the group was also further arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods.

A statement read: ‘There was particular concern from military colleagues that this would scare their horses involved in the procession and, as a result, cause significant risk to the safety of the public and the riders.’

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Ade Adelekan also added: ‘The intelligence we received led us to be extremely worried about the potential risk to public safety. We are aware of and understand there is public concern over these arrests. However, the matter is still under investigation.’

Patrick Thelwell – who tried to egg the King during a visit to York on November 9 last year – was also arrested on Saturday. The 23-year-old was convicted of threatening behaviour at York magistrates court last month and sentenced to a 12-month community order with 100 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £600 in court costs. 

Meanwhile, two people were charged for possession of class A drugs during the royal event on Saturday, while another was charged under Section 5 of the Public Order Act. 

The Prime Minister shared his gratitude for Scotland Yard after Saturday’s operation to crackdown on crime during the crowning of King Charles

Scotland Yard charged the final person with a ‘religiously aggravated offence’ under Section 5 of the Public Order Act. 

All those charged will appear in Westminster Magistrates’ Court over the course of this month.

Following arrest concerns, Commander Findlay added: ‘We absolutely understand public concern following the arrests we made this morning.

‘Protest is lawful and it can be disruptive. We have policed numerous protests without intervention in the build-up to the Coronation, and during it.

‘Our duty is to do so in a proportionate manner in line with relevant legislation. We also have a duty to intervene when protest becomes criminal and may cause serious disruption.

‘This depends on the context. The Coronation is a once in a generation event and that is a key consideration in our assessment.

‘A protest involving large numbers has gone ahead today with police knowledge and no intervention.’

But denying that police had got it wrong, yesterday Ken Marsh told MailOnline: ‘I cannot believe what I’m hearing this morning with all the criticism of the police. I’m flabbergasted.

‘Did one of the biggest global spectacles we’ve ever had not go off impeccably without a hitch? Yes it did, and it did so due to the bravery and vigilance of the thousands of my colleagues who kept the public safe yesterday.

‘There were heightened levels of anxiety going into the Coronation at what was being by planned by who but it passed off peacefully and without disruption because of quick-thinking police work.’

Also in defence of the Met was Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer, who insisted that the Met Police got the ‘balance right’ and that she trusted the police to use new laws to prevent disruptive protests.

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