Republic activist arrested at King's coronation warns 'You could be next'

Anti-monarchy activists arrested by police ahead of the King’s coronation are considering legal action after being told they would not be charged.

Head of campaign group Republic has called for a full inquiry to reveal who authorised the "disgraceful" arrests.

Speaking to TalkTV's Julia Hartley Brewer, Graham Smith said three police officers visited him at home on Monday to personally apologise but warned the right to protest no longer existed in the UK.

"We were very clear we would cooperate with police if we thought there were people within our protest who were intent on committing a crime," he said.

"People have the right to watch the event, and people also have the right to protest. Neither has a greater right than the other.

"The coronation is essentially a political statement and an attempt to secure the future of the monarchy, so of course opposition is going to be there.

"The right to protest doesn't exist in this country anymore, because it is now contingent on permission from the police and people in the government."

The Metropolitan Police said it "regretted" arresting six protesters under the Public Order Act after officers believed they were carrying items that could be used to 'lock-on' to devices to cause disruption.

A statement from the Met Police said: "Those arrested stated the items would be used to secure their placards, and the investigation has been unable to prove intent to use them to lock on and disrupt the event.

"This evening, all six have had their bail cancelled and no further action will be taken.

"We regret that those six people arrested were unable to join the wider group of protesters in Trafalgar Square and elsewhere on the procession route."

Mr Smith said he is exploring legal options despite the personal apology from officers.

He said: "They seemed very embarrassed. The Met themselves haven't apologised, they've used this woolly phrase 'regretting' that we couldn't protest, but I think they are aware of potential legal implications.

"We are going to take advice from lawyers. We want answers as to where the decision to arrest us came from, and whether there was political pressure on the Met, because it was clearly premeditated.

"Anybody who thinks it was okay to arrest us; you might find yourself wanting to protest against an abhorrent government policy, you might find yourself wanting to protest against a grave injustice or a visiting world leader who is persecuting their citizens.

"Your right to protest no longer exists in my view in this country. That is a very serious problem in a democratic society."

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