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UK: Police Criticized Over Arrest of Anti-Royal Protesters

Facts

  • Activists and civil liberties groups have criticized British police over the treatment of anti-royal protesters following the death of Queen Elizabeth last Thursday, citing concerns over free speech.[1]
  • Authorities have arrested people for shouting messages critical of the Crown, heckling royals, and carrying anti-monarchist signs. In one case, a person was reportedly arrested for holding up a blank sheet of paper. The crackdown on such demonstrations has prompted backlash and debate over the status of freedom of speech in the UK.[2]

Sources

Spin

Progressive narrative

It is very worrying to see the police enforcing their broad powers in such a heavy-handed and punitive way to clamp down on free speech and expression. The government is making it increasingly difficult for people to stand up for their beliefs. Protest is not a gift from the state - it is a fundamental right.

Conservative narrative

Even the leader of the opposition has made clear that a period of national mourning is not the right time to raise grievances against the royal family. The right to protest is protected in the UK and acts as a keystone of its democracy, but some of the heckling and protests that have gone on have only caused disruption, not contributed to pluralism.