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52 anti-monarchy demonstrators detained by police during coronation

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At the crowning of King Charles on Saturday, police detained the leader of the anti-monarchy group Republic along with 51 other people, citing their obligation to suppress dissent as a higher priority.

In order to stand out among the red, white, and blue-clad throng lined the procession route in central London, hundreds of yellow-clad protesters congregated there while holding posters reading “Not My King.”

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The Republic campaign organisation said that its leader Graham Smith had been taken into custody before the procession started, and images of police removing the demonstrators’ banners from the streets of London appeared on social media.

‘We absolutely understand public concern following the arrests we made this morning,’ Commander Karen Findlay of the London Metropolitan police said in a statement.

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‘Over the past 24 hours there has been a significant police operation after we received information protesters were determined to disrupt the Coronation procession.’

Republic had vowed to mount the biggest protest against a British monarch in modern history and protesters booed as King Charles and Queen Camilla made their way to Westminster Abbey, and as the service was relayed publicly on large speakers.

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‘It is disgusting and massively over the top,’ said Kevin John, 57, a salesman from Devon who was among the protesters.

‘It is also hugely counterproductive by the police because all it has done is create a massive amount of publicity for us. It is completely crazy.’

Police did not confirm Smith’s arrest. They said they had acted because they believed protesters would seek to deface public monuments with paint and disrupt ‘official movements’.

‘All of these people remain in custody,’ Findlay said.

Protests also took place in Glasgow in Scotland and Cardiff in Wales, with participants holding up signs saying: ‘Abolish the monarchy, feed the people.’

Coronation of King Charles III latest

On social media, many contrasted the cost of living crisis in Britain with the pomp and pageantry on display at the coronation.

Although the protesters were in a minority compared with the tens of thousands gathered on London’s streets to support the king, polls suggest support for the monarchy is declining and is weakest among young people.

With the crown passing from Queen Elizabeth to her less popular son, republican activists hope Charles will be the last British monarch to be crowned.

‘It has a hereditary billionaire individual born into wealth and privilege who basically symbolises the inequality of wealth and power in our society,’ said Clive Lewis, an opposition Labour Party lawmaker.

Most of the anti-monarchy protesters on Saturday had congregated in Trafalgar Square next to the bronze statue of King Charles I, who was beheaded in 1649, leading to a short-lived republic.

Since Charles became king last September, there have been protests at royal events. He was heckled at a Commonwealth Day event at Westminster Abbey in March and targeted with eggs in York in November.

The death of the queen has also reignited debate in Australia, Jamaica and other parts of the commonwealth about the need to retain Charles as their head of state.

The state government of New South Wales said it had decided not to light up the sails of the Sydney Opera House to mark the coronation in order to save money. Events to mark the coronation in other countries where Charles is head of state were also low key.

While many other European monarchies have come and gone, or are far diminished in scale and importance, the British royal family has remained remarkably resilient.

In Britain, polls show the majority of the population still want the royal family, but there is a long-term trend of declining support.

A poll by YouGov last month found 64% of people in Britain said they had little or no interest in the coronation. Among those aged 18 to 24, the number voicing little or no interest rose to 75%.


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