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Royal fan who stood near coronation protesters arrested and held for 13 hours

Royal fan who stood near coronation protesters arrested and held for 13 hours

A monarchist who was arrested and detained for 13 hours after she stood near protesters on the day of the King’s coronation has said no innocent bystander should “endure” a “shocking” experience like hers.

Alice Chambers has now called on police to put new processes in place to prevent a repeat of the incident.

The 36-year-old arrived at The Mall in central London at about 7am on Saturday morning and was hoping to catch a glimpse of the King.

But she unwittingly stood near Just Stop Oil protesters and was “grabbed” and handcuffed when police officers descended on the group at about 9am.

In an interview with BBC Newsnight on Thursday, the architect from Australia who lives in London said she was arrested for conspiracy to commit public nuisance.

While detained, she said she was questioned, searched, held in a cell and had her DNA, fingerprints and custody photo taken before the Metropolitan Police realised she was an innocent bystander and let her go.

She added: “I mean, it’s just been so shocking and very emotional because it’s not something you ever expect, to find yourself in a jail cell for an extended period of time.

“I think about all the things I could have done that day, all the parties I could have gone to but I chose to attend the coronation and I got to see none of it.”

She added: “You would think that this should never happen and clearly there’s processes that either need to be put in place, or that weren’t followed because no one should endure an extended period under arrest just because they’re an innocent bystander.”

She told Victoria Derbyshire she was “sitting there waiting for the coronation to begin” when police arrived and started handcuffing people.

“Unfortunately, I was one of the people they grabbed,” she said.

“They handcuffed me straight away and then pulled me out of the crowd and put me against a barrier with a whole heap of other protesters.

“I tried to say anything I could to say that I wasn’t part of that group.

“I gave them my contact details. I showed them my ID and nothing seemed to be able to be said that made a difference really.”

Ms Chambers said she was hauled off The Mall, amid “yelling and booing” from crowds, and was bundled into a police van, from which point it took a further “four hours before we made it to a station”.

She said she repeatedly tried to explain she was not connected to Just Stop Oil and that “up until they started protesting, I didn’t even know what they were protesting about”.

She said interviewing police officers later apologised when they realised she was an innocent bystander and “they tried to process me from then on as quickly as they could”.

King Charles III coronation
Crowds filling The Mall as they wait for members of the Royal Family to appear on the Buckingham Palace balcon after the coronation (Sebastien Bozon/PA)

She has made a complaint about the incident to the Metropolitan Police.

A Scotland Yard spokesperson said: “We are aware that a woman was arrested in relation to a protest on May 6.

“The arresting officer was from Lincolnshire Police and the complaint has therefore been passed to the relevant force to investigate.

“The Met will assist by providing any relevant information they require.”

Reacting to this, Ms Chambers said: “I think it’s quite frustrating, the day after this happened I raised a complaint and it’s taken them a long time to get to this point.

She acknowledged there were lots of police from forces outside London in the capital on coronation day but said it “wasn’t necessarily” just Lincolnshire Police that her complaint is with, adding that the “the Met ultimately took over from them and I was detained by the Met as well”.

“I feel at the moment there’s a bit of finger pointing at each other so they they’re not really dealing with my complaint at all,” she added.

Chief Inspector Simon Outen from the professional standards department at Lincolnshire Police, said: “Our officers were in central London providing mutual aid support to colleagues in the Met on Saturday May 6, and during that time, a woman in her 30s was arrested in connection with a Just Stop Oil protest.

“She was subsequently released with no further action. We have now received a complaint and we are reviewing the incident, and we are in contact with the complainant to establish the full details of her allegations.”