London’s Metropolitan Police expressed remorse on Monday regarding the arrest of six individuals participating in anti-monarchy protests during coronation day. Critics have condemned the force’s forceful actions as a direct assault on democracy.
In response to intelligence indicating that certain demonstrators were committed to causing disruptions during the coronation of King Charles III, officials implemented a substantial police operation on Saturday. As a result, a total of 64 arrests were made, with four individuals facing charges while the majority were released on bail.
Among those detained were six members of Republic, the largest anti-monarchy organization in the UK. They were held throughout the day but were informed on Monday that no charges would be filed against them, as an investigation failed to establish their intention to disrupt the event.
“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,” Met Police said in a news release.
Graham Smith, the CEO of Republic, who was detained for 16 hours, revealed on Monday that a chief inspector and two additional officers visited his residence in Reading to extend their apologies.
“I said for the record I won’t accept the apology,” Smith said, according to the BBC. “We have a lot of questions to answer and we will be taking action.”
The apprehensions were conducted based on a contentious recent legislation that grants authorities the power to search protesters for materials that can be utilized to secure themselves to structures such as railings and gates, including items like glue and locks.
According to the officers, the six activists were detained due to the discovery of certain items in a vehicle that seemed to have the potential for use as “lock-on devices.” However, they were ultimately unable to substantiate this claim.
Mark Rowley, the Chief of London’s police, defended the actions of his officers in an article published in the Evening Standard newspaper.
“We are proud to have successfully ensured its safety and security despite the most challenging, fast-moving and complex policing picture we have ever encountered for a national celebration,” he wrote.
“Our activity was targeted at those we believed were intent on causing serious disruption and criminality,” he added.