Thousands of Britons are swarming in front of the Queen’s coffin these days to say goodbye. At Westminster Hall, the line was temporarily closed for the first time today, coming in at nearly 8km in length with a wait time of at least 14 hours.
However, the silent protests go against these endless queues. Like royal fans, these protests are popping up all over the places where the Queen’s coffin is spending her last days. For example, anti-monarchy protesters have appeared in Edinburgh and London in Scotland in recent days.
‘Exceptional and horrific’
Zara Sultana, a Member of Parliament for the Political Action Party, publicly shared her criticisms on Twitter. “No one should be arrested for expressing Republican views. It is unusual and shocking to say this.”
Today a silent protest took place in Wales on the day the new King Charles III and his wife Camilla visited the capital of this British part of the country. Under the slogan “Real Protest Now”, trade unions and supporters of independent Wales called for protests at Cardiff Castle.
The organizers had previously asked the police to respect their right to demonstrate. They found the expulsions and previous arrests of other protesters alarming. Here’s what Bethan Seid, a former co-organizer and representative for Wales, tells us.
“It is very dangerous when people are arrested for their opinion. We will not tolerate that,” he added. Syed appreciates the process of grieving Britons are going through, but thinks another voice should be heard, too. “Although it is difficult.”
He was almost caught with a blank sheet of paper
El-Sayed explains that earlier this week a frustrated man called her. The problem was that he picked up a blank sheet of paper, because it was likely that he would write something provocative on it. “These kinds of actions are a danger to democracy.”
It happened to lawyer and activist Paul Paulsland who secretly grabbed his cellphone and shared it on Twitter. In the video, you can hear the police asking for his details. the reason? Because Poulesland wanted to put “not mine” on it and that could offend people. Therefore, the agent can arrest him under the public order law.
That same slogan, #NotMyKing, went viral on Twitter the next day after a video surfaced online showing another protester being taken away by police. He was holding a banner with the same text in his hands.
Clive Stafford Smith, civil rights attorney, tell in Washington Post Why are people taken away? According to him, this is happening because the police officers are the most likely enforcers of the Public Order Act 1986.
This is an “incredibly vague law that says anything that can disturb public order is left to the police authority to decide whether to arrest anyone.” Reporter Anne Senen stresses that this can lead to difficult situations. On the one hand, demonstrations are allowed, and on the other hand, there are restrictions.”
Although the police modified their protocols in response to media attention, they still decided what to do in each situation. “For example, you will be less grateful if you start screaming the moment the coffin passes.”
Although the silent protests get a lot of attention across social media, their meetings are small in size, Senin says. “They dwarf the ranks of the Queen.” It’s often small groups standing along the way and a few getting caught every now and then.
For example, the police arrested history teacher Simon Hill. It happened after he shouted “who chose him” while reading the ad in Oxford. In an extensive blog Hill says The police handcuffed him and did not say why he was arrested.
Sick old man
In Edinburgh, police on Monday arrested a 22-year-old who described Prince Andrew as a “sick old man” while the Queen was carried next to her coffin. A video clip shows how two men from the crowd pushed him to the ground, after which the police pulled him away.
Scottish police told the Washington Post that the protester was arrested and then “chest to appear before the Edinburgh Sheriff’s Court at a later time’.
This event also caused a lot of backlash. For example, Daniel Hanan, a member of the House of Lords, has expressed concerns about the authoritarian police. “Forbidding people to chant republican slogans, even if they did so deliberately so brazenly and provocatively, is wholly unBritish.”
Solitaries and small groups demonstrate for various reasons. Senin explains that it is generally people who criticize the royal family and who do not agree that Charles inherits the throne without any electoral process. There are also Republicans who want to get rid of the entire monarchy.
In Wales, today’s protests were also about other things, such as dissatisfaction with Charles’ sudden announcement that William would become Prince of Wales. With that, the master basically wanted to radiate solidarity. “It doesn’t matter – the Socialists of the Labor Party, the independence fighters, the anti-colonialists – our protest to all.”
“Infuriatingly humble social media buff. Twitter advocate. Writer. Internet nerd.”