Met 'regrets' six arrested anti-monarchy protestor did not join wider demo as 52 activists detained on Coronation day

9 May 2023, 06:55

A Just Stop Oil protester was carried out of the crowd after a police search
A Just Stop Oil protester was carried out of the crowd after a police search. Picture: LBC / Alamy

By Danielle DeWolfe

The Met Police have said it "regrets" the arrests of six anti-monarchy protestors, as the force confirmed a total of 64 arrests on the day of the King's Coronation.

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Confirming it had utilised the power of the Government's new controversial protest laws to detain the group, the force noted that 52 of those arrests were linked to suspected event disruption.

The Met has now said a review concluded there was no proof the group of activists were planning to "lock on" - a now regular tactic employed by protestors which has been banned under the law.

Prior to the Coronation, republican protesters and a Just Stop Oil activist were seen being arrested by Metropolitan Police officers, with signs saying 'Not My King' being collected by the force.

The Met said: "It was not clear at the time that at least one of the group stopped had been engaging with police Protest Liaison Team officers ahead of the event.

Head of Republic Graham Smith was seen being arrested by Metropolitan Police officers
Head of Republic Graham Smith was seen being arrested by Metropolitan Police officers. Picture: Alamy

"The Protest Liaison Team were not the arresting officers nor were they present in St Martin’s Lane at the time of the arrest."

Anti-monarchy group Republic saw members including head Graham Smith detained by police close to Trafalgar Square.

Just Stop Oil activist Ben Larsen said he was on The Mall to peacefully protest when police began detaining those suspected of causing disruption - many, it's been revealed, using new police anti-protest powers.

He was seen telling Metropolitan Police officers: “You’ve searched me and haven’t found s***.”

A police officer replied: “You need to educate yourself on what peaceful protest is.”

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Campaign group Human Rights Watch said the arrests were “incredibly alarming”.

It added: “This is something you would expect to see in Moscow not London.”

Officers were seen confiscating signs reading 'Not My King'
Officers were seen confiscating signs reading 'Not My King'. Picture: Alamy

The force have now confirmed the six arrested will have their bail cancelled following the findings of the investigation.

"Taking into account the information they had, and the overall concern regarding security, six people were arrested on suspicion of going equipped for locking on, contrary to Section 2 Public Order Act 2023," the Met said in a statement.

Adding: "The investigation team have now fully examined the items seized and reviewed the full circumstances of the arrest.

"Those arrested stated the items would be used to secure their placards, and the investigation has been unable to prove intent to use them to lock on and disrupt the event. "

"This evening all six have had their bail cancelled and no further action will be taken.

"We regret that those six people arrested were unable to join the wider group of protesters in Trafalgar Square and elsewhere on the procession route."