The “Not My King” tag is growing in the UK, and protesters are being arrested
As the UK elects a new head of state to succeed the late Queen Elizabeth II, a number of arrests by the police of those opposing the monarchy in recent days have raised concerns about the right to free expression.
In widely circulated pictures, a woman was detained on Sunday at St. Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh, while brandishing a banner that read “Abolish monarchy” and “F*** imperialism.”
“Let her go! “It’s free speech!” one man shouted, according to The Scotsman newspaper. Others yelled back, “Have some respect.”
Similar claims surfaced on Monday, including one about a man who shouted at the royal procession heading into the cathedral and was then observed being forcibly removed from a ceremonial barrier. According to reports, he was jeering Prince Andrew.
In addition, a woman in London was carried away by four uniformed police officers on Monday after holding a sign that read “Not my king”—a phrase that has gained popularity—near Westminster Hall.
In what he called “an egregious assault on democracy,” author and activist Symon Hill claims he was arrested in Oxford for opposing Charles’ ascent. This is the case that has garnered the greatest attention.
Hill stated he did nothing to dishonour Elizabeth or cause a disturbance to those who were mourning her and that his objection to Charles being named king was limited to that.
I just yelled “Who chose him?” when they proclaimed Charles to be “King Charles III.” As he described his experience, Hill said. “Most of the crowd may not have even heard me, in my opinion. I was instructed to stop talking by two or three people around.”
Hill claimed that the police initially informed him that his arrest fell under the recently strictened protest laws in the United Kingdom, which were implemented in response to recent large-scale and/or disruptive protests organised by advocacy groups like Extinction Rebellion and Black Lives Matter.
The new law emboldens police to intervene in cases where they believe there are “unjustifiably noisy protests that may have a significant impact on others” or where an organization’s activities are seriously disrupted.
Groups like Republic, which in the U.K. implies you support the end of the monarchy, are reinforcing demands for change by spreading comments from people who liken the U.K.’s assault on protesters to the actions of authoritarian countries.
Announcing its plans to organise protests surrounding Charles’ coronation, Republic said on Monday that it is getting in touch with police departments to find out the regulations for demonstrators and that it “will expect those protests to be allowed to proceed peacefully.”