We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

File photo of Republic protesters PA

Anti-monarchy group sent 'intimidatory' letter about new protesting laws ahead of coronation

London’s Met Police said that 11,500 police will be on duty on Saturday and their ‘tolerance for disruption will be low’.

LAST UPDATE | 3 May 2023

AN ANTI-MONARCHY group in the UK has been sent what it has called an “intimidatory” letter from the Home Office warning of new laws that have come into force ahead of the coronation on Saturday.

The campaign group Republic said it will proceed with planned events to protest the crowning of King Charles, despite receiving the “very odd” letter.

New police powers to stop protests have been brought forward to ensure that roads and footpaths remain open during the celebrations, with protesters who block roads facing up to 12 months behind bars.

The measures in the Public Order Act, which received royal assent yesterday, will give police the powers to stop disruption at major sporting and cultural events this summer in England and Wales.

A new offence of “interfering with key national infrastructure” such as oil refineries, airports and railways could carry a maximum sentence of 12 months in prison and an unlimited fine.

Republic boss Graham Smith told the PA news agency: “We’ve been liaising closely with the police about the protest for weeks. We’ve had meetings with them.

“They’ve said very clearly that they have no problems with our plans. I just can’t understand why the Home Office thinks it’s appropriate to send a letter like that, which was anonymous in terms of no person’s name on it.”

Smith added: “It struck us as intimidatory in a way.”

He said there are plans for 1,700 people to protest in Trafalgar Square on Saturday.

Under the new laws, anyone who “locks on” to other people, objects or buildings could go to prison for six months and face an unlimited fine.

Officers will also be able to search protesters for padlocks, glue and digging tools, with people intending to use them to cause disruption also facing criminal charges.

The tougher penalties are aimed at curbing the guerrilla tactics used by groups such as Just Stop Oil, Insulate Britain and Extinction Rebellion.

extinction-rebellion-protests PA PA

Thousands of ceremonial troops will take part in a procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey as part of the coronation – dress rehearsals for which took place overnight Tuesday to Wednesday – with huge crowds expected.

The security operation to protect the route to and from the abbey – dubbed Operation Golden Orb – is one of the biggest in recent years.

The operation, known as Golden Orb, will be one of the most significant and largest security operations the Met has led.

There will be more than 29,000 police officer deployments over the coming week, with 11,500 on duty for Saturday.

It will include rooftop snipers and undercover officers, as well as airport-style scanners, sniffer dogs and a no-fly zone over central London.

There will also be officers from the Met’s firearms unit, marine support, and Special Constabulary ready to respond to any incident or crime, London’s police service said.

“We intend to use facial recognition technology in central London,” a statement from the Met said.

“The watch list will be focused on those whose attendance on Coronation Day would raise public protection concerns, including those wanted for offences or have an outstanding warrant for arrest issued by the courts, or those under relevant offender management programmes in order to keep the public safe.”

“Our tolerance for any disruption, whether through protest or otherwise, will be low.” 

king-charles-iii-coronation Rehearsals for the coronation PA PA

‘Showcase our democracy’

According to Security Minister Tom Tugendhat, the police and intelligence agencies are mounting a “very complex” security operation around the coronation.

Tugendhat said police are “all over it” and not complacent about the scale of the challenge. He said the celebrations will “showcase our liberty and our democracy”.

The streets of London have in recent years been blocked by environmental protesters, and republicans opposed to the monarchy say they will stage a demonstration on the procession route.

Tugendhat said the operation around the coronation will show “security can be a liberator in a democracy, not like an authoritarian state where it’s a controller”.

Asked about the letter sent to Republic, Tugendhat said: “They have the liberty that anybody in the United Kingdom has to protest. What they don’t have the liberty to do is to disrupt others.

“And that’s where we’re drawing and making a difference.”

Arrest at Buckingham Palace

A man is being questioned by the Metropolitan Police after suspected shotgun cartridges were thrown into the grounds of Buckingham Palace, days before the coronation.

The suspect was detained at about 7pm yesterday after he approached the palace’s gates in central London and threw a number of items, the Met Police said.

He is being held on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon after a knife was found, the force said.

Police carried out a precautionary controlled explosion which could be heard live on GB News, while cordons were put up in the area.

Scotland Yard say they are not treating the incident as terror-related.

It is understood it is being treated as an isolated mental health incident.

Neither the King nor Queen Consort Camilla were at Buckingham Palace at the time of the incident, but Charles did host Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese during an audience at the palace earlier yesterday.

The items thrown into the palace grounds “have been recovered and will be taken for specialist examination”, the Met Police said.

The man was also found with a “suspicious bag”, the force added.

Footage from the scene in the aftermath of the incident showed police cars parked outside the palace, with officers and sniffer dogs patrolling near the gates.

Officers could also be seen examining a number of items strewn across the floor just outside the gates.

Chief Superintendent Joseph McDonald said: “Officers worked immediately to detain the man and he has been taken into police custody.

“There have been no reports of any shots fired, or any injuries to officers or members of the public.

“Officers remain at the scene and further inquiries are ongoing.”

Buckingham Palace declined to comment and said the incident was a matter for the Met Police.

Additional reporting by AFP

Press Association
Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel