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Scotland Yard says it ‘regretted’ arrests during Charles III’s coronation

London’s Metropolitan Police expressed “regret” at the arrests of anti-monarchy protesters on Saturday (6) during the coronation of King Charles III.

A review by Scotland Yard itself found that at least six protesters from the anti-monarchy group Republic (Republic) were arrested before the start of the royal procession with no indication that they intended to commit any kind of crime.

The six were arrested when their vehicle was stopped near the procession route by police officers who believed they planned to tie themselves to obstacles near the parade so they could not be removed.

The police used as an excuse for the arrests changes in the Public Order Act of the United Kingdom, passed just days before the week of the coronation. That law outlawed, among other things, the practice of tying oneself to objects to prevent the removal of protesters.

Civil rights organizations and many politicians, including some from the ruling Conservative Party, say that, in practice, the new law gives police the power to decide on the spot whether or not demonstrators intend to commit “crimes” during protests.

Arbitrary laws like this are often part of the legal framework of dictatorships and authoritarian countries. In this case, the United Kingdom says it is proud to be one of the oldest democracies in the world.

Former Conservative minister David Davis, for example, told local media that the new law is “too coarse and too broad”. Davis said that “within a week of the Public Order Act going into effect, the police have had to apologize” for the arrests.

In total, 64 protesters were arrested for peaceful acts against the monarchy during the coronation. Only four of those people were indicted, with some kind of evidence that they were going to commit some kind of crime.

The report of CNN Brazil accompanied, during the coronation, the action of the police to try to contain the demonstrators.

At one point, shortly after King Charles’s carriage passed towards Westminster Abbey, a group of Republic demonstrators were surrounded by more than 30 police officers and removed from the front line of the procession – being placed by the police in an area where the posters they carried could not be seen either by the royal family or by TV cameras.

Graham Smith, the leader of Republic, one of six arrested on Saturday morning, said he did not accept the “repentant” stance or any apology from the police. He will sue the police for the arbitrary arrest.

According to him, the police always had the intention of arresting them and preventing any kind of demonstration, even a peaceful one.

Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak defended the police action and brushed it off, saying the important thing was that the coronation party had gone well.

Scotland Yard chief Mark Rowley said he supported the police action, although he also said it was “unfortunate” that those arrested had not been able to join other activists.

London police have also been heavily criticized and lost much of their reputation for a range of other problems, including institutional racism and sexual abuse – two problems proven by independent investigations.

Source: CNN Brasil

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