LONDON: UK police on Saturday arrested leading members of the anti-monarchy group Republic as they prepared to protest along the route of a procession for the coronation of King Charles III, the organisation said.
“They’ve arrested six of our organisers and seized hundreds of placards, they won’t tell us why they’ve arrested them or where they’re being held,” a Republic activist told AFP in Trafalgar Square.
Republic chief executive Graham Smith was one of those arrested before the group had a chance to wave placards declaring: “Not My King”.
Some onlookers nearby shouted “free Graham Smith!” But others shouted “God save the King” and waved Union flags. The two-hour coronation ceremony is scheduled to begin at 1000 GMT (5pm Thailand time).
A camera crew from the Alliance of European Republican Movements was at the scene and asked a senior police officer why the group had been detained.
“They’re under arrest. End of,” the officer told them, walking off.
There was no immediate comment from London’s Metropolitan police force, which was controversially granted new anti-protest powers by the UK government under a new law rushed through this week.
On its Twitter feed, Republic confirmed the arrests and seizure of placards. “Is this democracy?” it demanded.