UK: Police Criticized Over Arrest of Anti-Royal Protesters

Photo: Al Jazeera/News Agencies

The 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.

  • 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.

The 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.

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