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Head of anti-monarchy campaign group taking legal action over coronation arrest

12 Sep 2023 2 minute read
Republic chief executive Graham Smith. Photo James Manning/PA Wire

The head of anti-monarchy campaign group Republic is taking legal action against the Metropolitan Police after he was arrested ahead of a pre-agreed protest on the day of the King’s coronation.

Graham Smith and five other members of the group were held on suspicion of going equipped to lock on – a tactic some protesters use to make themselves more difficult to move on – because they had luggage straps to secure their placards.

Republic chief executive Mr Smith, who was held for more than 14 hours, confirmed on Tuesday that he has applied for a judicial review of the decision to detain him.

He 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. It was an appalling attack on the rights of peaceful protesters.”

Mr Smith had discussed the planned demonstration for four months with senior Met staff, but says he was physically prevented from calling the group’s designated liaison officer when he was stopped and arrested on the day of the coronation on May 6.

New legislation

The group were detained after new legislation came into effect days before the event that created new offences of locking on or going equipped to lock on under the Public Order Act.

On May 8 they were told no further action would be taken.

Mr Smith wants the Met to admit the arrests were unlawful and is seeking damages and costs.

A spokesman for the force said: “We can confirm that a Judicial Review Claim has been issued and, it would be inappropriate to comment on ongoing proceedings.”

The force came under criticism for heavy-handedness over arrests around the coronation, which also saw the detention of three workers on Westminster council safety scheme Night Stars because they had kits containing rape alarms.

Royal fan Alice Chambers was held for several hours after being arrested while standing alongside protesters on The Mall.

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7 months ago

I’d like to think that the far-right blowhards who foam at the mouth about 20mph stuff and call the Welsh Gov a dictatorship might show some consistency and rage against this real anti-democratic outrage.

Bachgen o Lerpwl
7 months ago
Reply to  Llyn

That’s the majority of the Welsh population according to today’s survey. All with the vote.

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
7 months ago

Good luck with this one Graham and Co but in Bravermans’ Britain, I don’t fancy your chances sadly.

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
7 months ago

It’s about time the monarchy was placed where it belongs – in the history books.

7 months ago

Looking at some of the laws and direction, this will get worse. Braverman was let loose in the UK after she should have been barred from high office for life. But the PM and the Cons keep her in post. You have 30p pontificating as deputy chair of the cons, and most of the front bench in the pocket of someone or another. Dowdonn who chats to the Heritage Foundation, Shapps still on the front bench and so on. Lots of donors want their pay back. Sneaking in under the radar, on line safety bill has quietly dropped the back… Read more »

Richard E
Richard E
7 months ago

Now that QE2 has passed – there is no doubt that the numbers are changing.

Governments at Westminster and Cardiff Bay need to reflect this shift .

We still need however to decide as a nation of 3 million how we wish / who we wish to be governed at ceremonial level.

…discussion, reflection and looking at a range of possible models is needed then we’ll within a decade we need to see the options and VOTE 🗳️.

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