Man arrested as protesters 'seize' Edinburgh Castle 'under Magna Carta'

18 August 2021, 07:52 | Updated: 18 August 2021, 08:24

Protesters claimed to "seize" the landmark.
Protesters claimed to "seize" the landmark. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

A man has been arrested and an officer injured after a group of protesters claimed to "seize" Edinburgh castle, citing article 61 of Magna Carta.

The arrest was made for "disorder related offences" and minor injuries were sustained by the officer during the arrest, police said.

Around 30 people - identifying as "peaceful" and "sovereign" - were seen at the landmark in a Facebook Live video on Tuesday afternoon.

Police Scotland confirmed officers were still in attendance hours later.

In the 13-minute video, a woman said the castle "belongs to the people" and that they were "taking our power back".

She added that the Scottish people had been "lied to all our lives" and that the "building belongs to us, we have taken the castle back" in an effort to "restore the rule of law".

Another man then said: "Treason's been going on for that long now, we can't sit back and let everybody perish under the stupid legislation and fraudulent government tyranny, so let's just take it all back, not just the castle."

The woman then called for "no more enslavement", saying the "people and commonwealth are going to be free".

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After saying the group was "putting we, the people, back into power", a second man added: "We are the people."

The woman also claimed that Scots had been kept "like peasants for 800 years".

As police appeared, she shouted "notice to compel" and informed officers that they were seizing the castle under article 61 of Magna Carta - "the only law in the land" - which predates the Act of Union.

She said she had put Police Scotland Chief Constable Iain Livingstone "on notice" about them taking the castle.

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One officer asked the woman for her name, to which she said she was "not obliged" to give it, before going on to identify herself anyway.

The police constable then asked: "How many more people are you expecting to come to Edinburgh Castle today to join your protest?"

She said: "It's not a protest, we're actually taking it back."

"Right, no worries," he replied.

Superintendent Gerry Corrigan, Police Scotland, said: "Officers attended at Edinburgh Castle following reports that a group of protesters had gathered within the Castle grounds at around 5.05pm on Tuesday, 17 August, 2021.

"The group later dispersed.

"One man was arrested for disorder related offences and a police officer sustained minor injuries during this arrest.

"A full report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal."

Magna Carta, which was signed in 1215 by King John, has never applied in Scotland.

Article 61 is not in use in law today, but it originally gave 25 barons the right to "assail" the monarch.

There have previously been claims that article 61 gives people the right to defy lockdown regulations too, becoming prominent among conspiracy theorists.