Planning On Protesting King Charles's Coronation? Here's What You Need To Know

The Met Police has already issued a warning to those considering it.
Around 1,500 people are expected to protest on Saturday
Around 1,500 people are expected to protest on Saturday
POOL via Reuters

Protesters are expected to make a significant appearance during King Charles’s highly-anticipated coronation on Saturday.

The divisive event is coming at the height of the cost of living crisis, and after several years of intense royal drama – so it’s no surprise that an Ipsos poll with Sky News found republican support is at its highest level since the 1990s.

While Charles himself has been getting more popular in the run-up to his big day, the same survey also found that he is actually only the fourth most popular member of his family, with an approval rating of +31%.

The anti-monarchy group Republic has claimed that between 1,500 and 2,000 people will protest Charles on his way to Westminster Abbey, all dressed in yellow for maximum visibility.

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police have issued some pretty stern warnings to any protesters ahead of the lavish event.

So if you’re considering joining any demonstrations, here’s what you need to know.

1. It’s fine to hold a placard

Metropolitan Police deputy assistant commissioner Ade Adelekan promised on Wednesday that anyone “holding a placard” would not be disturbed by the police.

But, if they were perceived to be disruptive, “swift” action would follow.

He explained: “Protest is lawful. If at any point any protest, either during the coronation or afterwards, moves from being a protest that is lawful into criminal intent then you will see extremely swift action from us.”

2. Police can search protesters

The new Public Order bill – which came into effect on May 3 – states that police can search protesters.

It explains: “Police will also be able to head off disruption by stopping and searching protestors for items like padlocks, superglue and digging tools if they suspect they are setting out to cause chaos.

“People caught with these items, with the intention of using them to cause disruption will also face criminal charges.”

3. What to do if you get arrested

Campaign group Liberty explain on their website: “Before arresting you, the police officer must tell you that you are being arrested. They must also tell you the offence you are being arrested for and why it is necessary to arrest you.”

It adds that they have the power to “demand your name and address” if they think you have acted in an “anti-social manner”.

Not giving your full details in this situation is a criminal offence under Section 50 of the Police Reform Act.

If the police do not think you’ve acted in an anti-social manner, you are “under no legal obligation to provide your personal details to the police”, it explains.

4. Remember to say ‘no comment’

Beyond providing your personal details, Liberty has recommended anyone protesting that they do not need to respond until they have received legal advice from a specialist solicitor. Instead, just say “no comment”.

Don’t “chat with officers while in a police car or van – or when being ‘booked in’ at the police station”, Liberty recommends.

5. Remember police have indicated they will not be gentle on ‘disruption’

The Metropolitan Police tweeted earlier this week: “Our tolerance for any disruption, whether through protest or otherwise, will be low. We will deal robustly with anyone intent on undermining this celebration.”

6. The Home Office warned there could be a year-long prison sentence

Campaign groups who have announced their intentions to protest received a letter from the Home Office before the coronation.

It reminded them that the new measures could mean protesters may face up to 12 months in prison for blocking roads, airports or railways, or six months if they “lock on” to others, objects or buildings.

But, Republic’s Graham Smith told The Guardian that the letter came “out of the blue”, and that it sounded like “intimidation”.


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