Anti-monarchy protesters rounded up by cops and not my king placards taken

Police have confiscated a vanload of placards with 'not my king' daubed on them and reportedly arrested anti-monarchy protesters in London.

In one video circulating online, a Met Police officer says: “I’m not going to get into a conversation about that – they are under arrest, end of”, while pictures from reporter Adam Bienkov show a protestor being bundled into a police van.

Graham Smith, chief executive of the anti-monarchy group Republic, was also shown in footage apparently being apprehended by police in St Martin’s Lane, near Trafalgar Square, this morning.

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Police appear to be using new powers, described as draconian, designed to quell dissent at major public and sporting events just hours into the day of King Charles' Coronation.

Blocking roads, airports and railways could bring prison sentences of 12 months, while people locking onto others, objects or buildings could go to prison for six months and face an unlimited fine.

Police have also been empowered to stop and search people if they suspect they are setting out to cause disruption by protesting.

In a statement posted to Twitter and at the time of writing, Scotland Yard said seven people in total had been arrested so far.

On Wednesday, Metropolitan Police announced they would have an “extremely low threshold” for protests during the Coronation celebrations, and that demonstrators could expect “swift action”.

After the apparent arrests, Republic activist Luke Whiting, 26, told the PA news agency: “Six Republic members have been arrested including the CEO as the demonstration was starting at the edge of Trafalgar Square.

“It is unclear why, potentially it is because one of them was carrying a megaphone.

“It is unclear exactly whether the police are using these new powers and whether they are misusing them to stop protest happening.”

One woman in a Republic T-shirt who was arrested told PA: “We had a delivery of placards ready for the protest and then the tactical support unit questioned us as to how we we had got through the road closures.

“They questioned whether what we were doing was a delivery.

“They then said they found evidence of means of locking on, of items that could be used to lock on, and they arrested us.”

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Officers carried her away from where she had been standing outside a Tesco store.

Two men who appeared to have been part of the same demonstration were carried away by officers into a marked police van.

The policing operation is set to see 11,500 police officers on duty on Saturday.


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