British police have said they will have a “low tolerance” for people who want to disrupt the coronation day, prompting criticism that they are stifling free speech.
LONDON, United Kingdom – The anti-monarchy group Republic says several of its members were arrested on Saturday as they prepared to protest the coronation of King Charles III.
The group planned to hold placards and chant “Not my king” during the monarch’s procession to Westminster Abbey. The police were reportedly informed of their plans in advance.
But on Saturday morning, several members of the group were stopped near Trafalgar Square and taken to police vans.
London police said officers detained a total of 52 people on the day of the coronation for alleged offenses including public disorder and conspiracy to cause a disturbance.
Others managed to protest along the route, dressed in yellow and waving placards with slogans including “scrounger king” and “abolish the monarchy”.
Police said they would have a “low tolerance” for people wanting to disrupt the day, which has drawn criticism for stifling free speech.
Environmental group Just Stop Oil said around 20 of its supporters were arrested for protesting during the coronation celebrations.
The group, which does not want new licenses for any fossil fuel projects in the UK, said protesters were arrested in a shopping center outside Buckingham Palace and near Downing Street.
It said that the activists were not conducting riots, but were only wearing “Just Stop Oil” T-shirts and holding flags with the inscription.
The group criticized the government for banning legitimate dissent.
Meanwhile, crowds braving the chilly rain waved flags and cheered as a gilded carriage carried King Charles III and Queen Camilla back to Buckingham Palace after his coronation ceremony.
The king and queen waved back from the shelter of the Gold State Coaches. Mounted troops led the way as 4,000 armed troops marched through central London.
The scarlet sleeves of the Welsh Guards and the white-gloved hands of the Royal Air Force swung in unison to the steady drumbeat.
It was the largest military procession in the city since the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.
The procession passed Trafalgar Square and passed under the Admiralty Arch before skirting St. James’s Park on its way to the palace.