Anti-Royal Protesters Arrested After Dividing Opinion Grow

Anti-Royal Protesters
Courtesy of Ian McKellar (Flickr CC0)

People on Twitter are expressing their feelings on the current in the United Kingdom, after King Charles III has been granted the throne after his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, passed away. Some of these tweets say, “Not my king” and “He is king and there’s nothing that you can do about it.”

In serious ways, this is happening in real life. Police officers have been making multiple arrests in response to people protesting the monarchy in these past few days, which have been raising questions regarding the right of freedom of speech in the United Kingdom, as the United Kingdom has officially announced a new head of state to replace the late Queen Elizabeth II.

In photos that have been seen by many, a woman holding a sign reading “Abolish monarchy” and “F* imperialism” was arrested on Sunday at St. Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh, which is where Queen Elizabeth II’s body is to lie at rest until Tuesday.

The 22-year-old woman was arrested “in connection with a breach of the peace,” a Police Scotland spokesperson stated also adding, that the woman was formally charged and then released. Currently, her case is now pending at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

Similar reports have been arising Monday, one of which includes a case where a man was seen aggressively removed from a parade barrier after yelling at the royal procession leading to the cathedral. Apparently, he was heckling at Prince Andrew.

In London, a woman was shown by four uniformed police officers on Monday after she was seen holding a sign that said “Not my king”. Not my king has become a trending hashtag near Westminster Hall.

Anti-Royal Protesters
Courtesy of bark (Flickr CC0)

One of the most high-profile arrests comes from Oxford where activist and author Symon Hill says he was arrested for protesting Charles’ ascension, he calls it “an outrageous assault on democracy.” Hill stated that he objected to Charles becoming officially announced king, and he believes that he did nothing wrong to Queen Elizabeth II or to disrupt the people who are mourning her.

“It was only when they officially announced Charles to become ‘King Charles III’ that I said ‘Who elected him?'” Hill said. “I doubt that most of the people in the crowd even heard me. About two or three people near me told me to shut up.”

Hill says that at first police told him that he was under arrest under the United Kingdom’s recently strengthen laws on protest, the change in question came after advocacy groups such as Black Lives Matter and Extinction Rebellion mounted large and or troublesome protests in recent years. The arrests highlight individuals’ problems with the authorities but large groups have also chosen or have been forced to change their plans in response to Elizabeth’s death.

Everybody has the right to protest, that being peaceful. There are not any certain right in the law, it is set in stone in the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, which is protected respectively under articles 10 and 11 of the European convention on human rights, which was directly included into domestic British law by the Human Rights Act.

Restrictions to the right to protest in Wales and England were set out in the Public Order Act 1986 and as well this year in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act. There’s also a common law offense of breach of the peace, and an offense that has a name that exists individually in Scotland, where it is also a statutory offense under section 38 of the Criminal Justice and Licensing, Scotland, Act 2010. Northern Ireland has its own legislation governing protests the Public Order, Northern Ireland, Order 1987, which includes circumstances that can be forced on public protests.

Written By Lance Santoyo
Edited by Sheena Robertson


The Guardian: What is the law on the right to protest in the UK?

NPR: Anti-royal protesters are being arrested in the U.K. as the ‘Not My King’ tag grows

The Week: Anti-monarchy protesters arrested at Charles’ accession ceremonies

Featured Image Courtesy of Ian McKellar Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

Inset Image Courtesy of bark Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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