• Wednesday, September 28, 2022

HEADLINE STORY

Top Met officer admits that police overstepped with anti-monarchy protesters

The chair of the Metropolitan Police Federation, Ken Marsh, said that officers who arrested anti-monarchy protesters don’t understand the law.

Representational image (iStock)

By: Pramod Thomas

A top police official has admitted that officers who arrested anti-monarchy protesters don’t understand the law, according to media reports.

The chair of the Metropolitan Police Federation, Ken Marsh, added that people have a ‘100 per cent’ right to stage such protests. “That’s part of our democracy, that’s what we are,” said Marsh. “It was clear that some of my colleagues weren’t aware what people can and can’t do in terms of holding up pieces of paper.”

Marsh, however, described the Met officers as ‘probably the best in the world’ in terms of ensuring security.

“It’s very challenging, it’s the biggest thing we’ve had to put in place for a public area. And bear in mind this is completely public where everyone will be standing and gathering. So, it’s a real challenge for us purely because of the numbers,” he was quoted as saying by media reports.

According to reports, there have been arrests or threatened arrests in London, Edinburgh and Oxford. There is growing anger in UK over heavy-handed crackdowns across the country as police arrested protesters for holding up pieces of paper with anti-monarchy slogans.

Scottish police said they had made three arrests in Edinburgh relating to breaches of the peace, causing a disturbance, on Sunday (11) and Monday (12) as Queen Elizabeth’s coffin was moved around the city.

A 22-year old woman, who had been pictured holding an anti-monarchy sign, and a 74-year old man who were arrested separately on Sunday were charged with breaching the peace.

The third, a 22-year old man arrested on Monday along the route of the procession of the queen’s coffin through Edinburgh, has yet to be charged.

Separately, a 45-year-old man was temporarily arrested in Oxford after a disturbance during the county proclamation ceremony of King Charles, Thames Valley Police said. Media reported he had shouted “who elected him?” as the proclamation was read out.

In London, a barrister filmed himself being threatened with arrest by an officer who warned him that writing ‘Not My King’ on a piece of paper was unacceptable. The video immediately went viral.

The Metropolitan Police issued a statement following the incident: “We’re aware of a video online showing an officer speaking with a member of the public outside the Palace of Westminster earlier today,” said deputy assistant commissioner Stuart Cundy. The public absolutely have a right of protest and we have been making this clear to all officers involved in the extraordinary policing operation currently in place and we will continue do so.

“However, the overwhelming majority of interactions between officers and public at this time have been positive as people have come to the capital to mourn the loss of Her Late Majesty the Queen.”

Opposition Labour party leader Keir Starmer also urged republicans to respect supporters who had made ‘a huge effort’ to pay respects to the Queen.

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