Met police ‘using human rights laws to block trooping the colour protest’

<span>An anti-monarchy protester being arrested in central London on 6 May 2023 during King Charles III’s coronation.</span><span>Photograph: Labour for a Republic/PA</span>
An anti-monarchy protester being arrested in central London on 6 May 2023 during King Charles III’s coronation.Photograph: Labour for a Republic/PA

The anti-monarchy campaign group Republic has accused the Metropolitan police of seeking to use human rights legislation to block protests at this weekend’s trooping the colour.

In a move it described as “Kafkaesque”, Republic claimed the force has written to it citing the ECHR, saying it was using ”the very law designed to protect the right to protest as justification for closing down protest”.

Last year, anti-monarchy protesters were arrested before they had a chance to protest at the coronation, on 6 May, which led to criticism of the Met.

King Charles will make a high-profile appearance on Saturday to mark the monarch’s official birthday during trooping the colour, which takes place at Horse Guards Parade near Buckingham Palace in central London.

Republic, which campaigns for the abolition of the monarchy and its replacement with a directly elected head of state, said 10 days ago it was told by the police that they were “relaxed” and had “no issue with where you want to protest”.

While Republic said no final decision has been communicated, it claimed the police were insisting the protest was moved to a location that was out of sight of the parade and media, it said.

Republic’s chief executive, Graham Smith, who sought a judicial review over his arrest on 6 May last year, pledged to challenge the police and Royal Parks, and called on all parties fighting the election to guarantee protection of meaningful peaceful protest.

“Human rights laws protect the right to meaningfully protest. To see those same laws used to effectively ban protest is a very worrying development,” he said.

“The police want us to protest well away from Buckingham Palace and away from the parade, where we will not be seen or heard. This is on the spurious grounds that a protest would deny spectators the right to enjoy the parade.”

“The Human Rights Act and ECHR does not provide a right to enjoy a day out, and the experience of all our protests is that we successfully protest alongside spectators without incident.”

“The argument that a protest is infringing on the rights of others to enjoy an event is particularly dangerous, opening up the possibility of banning any number of political protests on the most spurious grounds.”

“I am also concerned that the police seem willing to enforce the wishes of Royal Parks, who want to ban all protest outside Buckingham Palace. That would be a serious affront to democratic rights in this country.”

“If this ban goes ahead, we will do everything in our power to challenge that decision, and we will protest outside Buckingham Palace, the Met police HQ and Royal Parks offices, while calling on the government to address this attack on our rights.”

The Met police has been approached for comment.