London Police Chief Justifies Handling of Protest During King’s Coronation

London Police Commissioner Mark Rowley defended his department against complaints about his forces’ harsh response to protesters during the coronation of King Charles III, saying the intervention was intended to prevent “gross disorder and crime”.

Mark Rowley said his troops were responding to “fast-paced intelligence”, suggesting the protests may have impacted the safety of last Saturday’s coronation events.

Responding to questions from Mayor Sadiq Khan, Rowley said in a letter that there were concerns that protesters were planning to use large sound devices that could panic horses and disrupt the procession between Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey.

“If our officers had not acted reasonably in accordance with the evidence they had at the time and the potential risks of the event, there would now be more serious questions to be answered about the event … Serious and reliable intelligence told us, that the risks were very real,” wrote the commissioner.

Rowley noted that peaceful demonstrations were allowed to continue, including a large group of anti-monarchy protesters along Parade Road in Other Party Square, adding: “The demonstration was not banned, and while we said our tolerance for disrupting coronation ceremonies was low, it was not zero.” “.

Rowley’s assessment came after it emerged that Alice Chambers, a supporter of the monarchy who had been waiting along the parade route hoping to see the new king, was arrested and held for 13 hours simply because she stood too close to the protesters in the center London. Saturday.

Alice Chambers urged the police department to put in place new procedures to prevent the incident from happening again.

In contrast, anti-monarchist groups, environmental activists and civil liberties organizations have accused the police and the British Conservative government of suppressing the right to protest by using newly enacted police powers to quell peaceful but disruptive Coronation Day demonstrations.

The Republic, a group seeking to replace the king with an elected president, has also vowed to take legal action.

The UK Public Order Act, which was passed in response to recent environmental protests that disrupted transport across the country, was recently passed in the UK, allowing police to search protesters for items such as padlocks and glue, and allowing them to be sentenced to imprisonment for up to 12 months. to jail for protesters who block roads or interfere with “national infrastructure” as the new rules went into effect three days before the coronation.

Source: “AB”

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