A man who was arrested for shouting “who elected him?” during a proclamation ceremony for the King fears he will be detained again as he takes part in a planned protest during the coronation.
Symon Hill, 46, called out during the ceremony at Carfax Tower in Oxford in September and was handcuffed and arrested.
He was charged with using threatening or abusive words or disorderly behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress, but this was later dropped by prosecutors after a review.
Mr Hill, who is from Oxford, plans to take part in the Republic protest in central London on Saturday, which has been organised in co-operation with the Metropolitan Police.
On Wednesday the force said officers would take a tough line with protesters who disrupt the coronation.
Deputy assistant commissioner Ade Adelekan said: “We have an extremely low threshold for anybody or anything that will disrupt this event and what you will see is very swift action from us.”
Mr Hill told the PA news agency he fears arrests will be made on “spurious grounds” and that members of the public are being put off exercising their right to protest.
He said: “I find the deputy assistant commissioner’s comments really alarming.
“Back in September, several people, including me, were arrested for voicing dissent to monarchy.
“After that, senior police officers made comments about respecting the right to protest, but that didn’t last long.
“If the police were simply applying the law in a neutral way as they often claim, this would include respecting the right to protest, not choosing their own ‘thresholds’ for peaceful dissent.”
New laws have come into force this week giving police greater powers to deal with protesters, including arrest for locking on, a tactic used to make it harder for officers to move demonstrators.
“In the last few days we’ve seen the new Public Order Act rushed through, a threatening letter sent by the Home Office to the organisers of a peaceful and lawful protest, and the Metropolitan Police boasting about how low the threshold for protest will be,” Mr Hill added.
“This follows weeks of scurrilous stories in certain newspapers involving ludicrous claims about republicans’ supposed plans for violent disruption.
“This is all contributing to an atmosphere that seems to be aimed at deterring people from exercising their right to peaceful protest.
“This all makes me more nervous, but more determined, to protest against monarchy on Saturday.
“In the light of recent events, I strongly suspect that the police will try to exceed their own powers and restrict free expression and people will be arrested on spurious grounds.
“Although I will be joining peaceful and lawful protests, I am seriously worried that I will be arrested again.”
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