London police chief rejects complaints of heavy-handed response to coronation protesters

Streaming HUBMay 12, 2023

LONDON (AP) – London’s top police officer defended the department Friday from complaints of heavy-handed response to protesters during the coronation of King Charles III, saying his officers intervened to prevent “serious disruption and criminality.” Did.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Mark Rowley said officers were responding to “rapidly developing intelligence” that protests could affect the security of coronation events last Saturday.

Rowley said in a letter in response to Mayor Sadiq’s questions that there were signs fueling concerns that the protesters planned to use high-volume sound equipment to stage a rally between panicked horses and Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey. Could have blocked the procession. Mine.

“Had our officers not acted on an appropriate basis based on the evidence before them at this time and the potential risk of the incident, there would now be more serious questions to answer about this incident,” Rowley wrote. “Serious and reliable intelligence told us the risks were very real.”

Rowley’s assessment came after it emerged a supporter of the monarchy waiting along the parade route hoping to see the new monarch was arrested and detained for 13 hours as she walked through central London on Saturday. Standing close to the protesters. Alice Chambers called on the police department to implement new procedures to prevent a recurrence of the incident.

Anti-monarchy groups, environmental campaigners and civil liberties organizations have accused the police and Britain’s Conservative government of stifling the right to protest by using recently enacted police powers to crack down on peaceful but disruptive demonstrations on Coronation Day .

The Republic, a group campaigning to replace the king with an elected head of state, has pledged to take legal action.

The UK’s recently passed Public Order Act, introduced in response to environmental protests that have recently disrupted transport across the country, allows police to search protesters for items such as locks and glue. It allows for prison sentences of up to 12 months for protesters blocking roads or interfering with “national infrastructure”.

The new rules came into effect three days before the coronation.

Rowley said peaceful demonstrations had been allowed to continue, including a large group of anti-monarchy protesters along the parade route at Trafalgar Square.

“The protest was not banned. “While we stated that our tolerance for disruption of the coronation ceremony was low, it was not zero.”

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