Police have been heavily criticised over the “incredibly alarming” arrests of Republican protesters ahead of the King’s coronation.
Campaign groups said Saturday’s arrests, including that of the chief executive of anti-monarchy group Republic, were “something you would expect to see in Moscow, not London”.
The Metropolitan Police confirmed four people were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to cause a public nuisance on St Martin’s Lane and that lock-on devices were seized – a move described by human rights organisation Liberty as “a dangerous precedent for us as a democratic nation”.
Just after 7am, footage of Republic chief executive Graham Smith was posted on Twitter which showed him among the demonstrators apprehended on St Martin’s Lane near Trafalgar Square.
In one video an officer said: “I’m not going to get into a conversation about that, they are under arrest, end of.”
“They are under arrest, end of”
Just Stop Oil told the PA news agency approximately 52 protesters were arrested on the Mall ahead of the coronation.
A spokeswoman for the campaign group said five demonstrators were also arrested at Downing Street and one at Piccadilly.
Footage from the Mall showed the Just Stop Oil protesters being handcuffed and taken away by a heavy police presence.
The force also said they made a number of breaching-the-peace arrests in the area of Carlton House Terrace and a further three arrests in the Wellington Arch area on suspicion of possessing articles to cause criminal damage.
Posting on social media, Peter Tatchell wrote: “Police broke their promise that our anti-monarchy protest could go ahead.
“They arrested Republic’s key organisers, confiscated Republic’s official placards, photographed us like we were criminals & erected barriers in front of our protest so the king would not see us.”
Another protester, Graham Smith posted after his arrest, saying:
“Make no mistake. There is no longer a right to peaceful protest in the UK. I have been told many times the monarch is there to defend our freedoms. Now our freedoms are under attack in his name.”