British police announced that they had arrested 52 demonstrators Saturday on the sidelines of the coronation of King Charles III in London, and defended these arrests, which came under heavy criticism, by saying that they had been informed of plans to disrupt the historic event.
Security forces stopped dozens of environmental activists who were planning to disrupt the royal motorcade, as well as at least six anti-monarchy activists, including the head of the “Republic” movement, Graham Smith, who organized a demonstration in Trafalgar Square.
charge of disturbing public order
The Metropolitan Police said it had arrested 52 people who were still in custody on charges of disturbing public order on Saturday afternoon, noting that it had “received information indicating that protesters wanted to disrupt the coronation procession”.
“This included information indicating that individuals sought to vandalize monuments with paint, breach barriers and obstruct official movements,” Scotland Yard said.
This seems to indicate the kind of behavior of the environmental organization Just Stop the Oil whose activists have been arrested, but it does not explicitly justify the arrest of anti-monarchists whose “Not mine” signs were confiscated.
This did not prevent hundreds of supporters of republican rule from demonstrating as the royal motorcade passed, which, although limited, was unimaginable during the reign of Elizabeth II.
More than 11,000 policemen deployed during the coronation ceremony
Human rights organizations criticized the police’s behavior, which deployed more than 11,000 personnel on Saturday.
This comes days after the issuance of a controversial new law that strengthens police powers to counter protests.
“It is our duty to intervene when demonstrations become criminal and threaten to cause massive unrest,” a police statement quoted Karen Findlay, who coordinated the operation.
“It depends on the context. A coronation is a once-in-a-generation event and is a key component of our assessment,” she added.