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06th May 2023

Head of UK anti-monarchy group Republic arrested at coronation protest

Steve Hopkins

The Met has said they will have a ‘low tolerance’ for those seeking to ‘undermine’ the day

The head of an anti-monarchist campaign group was arrested Saturday while reportedly collecting drinks and placards for demonstrations at Trafalgar Square ahead of the Coronation.

Footage on social media appeared to show Republic demonstrators in ‘Not My King’ T-shirts being apprehended, including the group’s leader, Graham Smith.

The Guardian reported that he was detained on the Strand, in central London, while collecting provisions, and that he was detained after bringing a megaphone to the demonstration.

The BBC reported that around half a dozen protesters from the group were arrested while unloading a van of placards just north of Trafalgar Square.

Matt Turnbull, one of those arrested, told the broadcaster that the straps holding the placards had been “misconstrued” as something that could be used for locking on.

New legislation passed this week made it illegal to prepare to lock-on to things like street furniture.

The Met police tweeted earlier this week that they would have a “low tolerance” of those seeking to “undermine” the day.

The arrest of Smith, at around 7.30am, came as hundreds of anti-monarchist protesters had gathered at Trafalgar square with large flags and wearing yellow T-shirts.

The Guardian noted that as many as 2,000 protesters are expected to assemble below Nelson’s column by midday including representatives of the Swedish, Dutch and Norwegian republican movements.

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