UK: Coronation day arrests 'genuinely disturbing'
In response to reports that the Metropolitian Police made 64 arrests on the day of the Coronation, Oliver Feeley-Sprague, Amnesty International UK’s policing expert, said:
“It was genuinely disturbing to see the Met making this number of spurious-looking arrests.
“This was heavy-handed anti-protest policing at its crudest, with the police swooping on people unloading protest signs or wearing Just Stop Oil t-shirts, and even - most preposterously - taking into custody people in possession of rape alarms who were part of a longstanding Westminster Council safe streets initiative.”
“Despite what the police seem to think, merely being in possession of a megaphone or carrying a placard with a peaceful campaign slogan should never be grounds for an arrest.
“In many ways the police overreaction on Saturday was exactly what we’d been fearing, with the Met and other forces now starting to use extremely draconian new legislation to clamp down on any hint of protest deemed ‘disruptive’ or ‘noisy’.
“Peaceful protest is very clearly protected under international human rights law, yet the UK has entered a dangerous new era of authoritarian policing which is undermining our collective right to free speech and public assembly.”