Why The Met Police's Coronation Protest Warning Puts 'Unfairness' Of Royal Family 'Into Stark Relief'
Earlier this week the Metropolitan Police insisted that it would have a 'low' tolerance for any disruption caused at King Charles' coronation on Saturday.
The organisation warned that it would 'deal robustly with anyone intent on undermining this celebration' in a tweet shared on Twitter, which has since received 13.4 million views (and counting) and garnered several responses from media figures and members of the public.
What an extraordinary tweet…the explicit threat; why the hell shouldn’t people be allowed to protest? I suspect the bar for what they will classify as “disruption” will be very low. https://t.co/5nb9LafvxV
— alexandra hall hall 🇺🇦🌻 (@alexhallhall) May 4, 2023
Where police threaten protestors on social media.
We are becoming more and more authoritarian. https://t.co/yVWosjau6z
— Dr Mike 😷 (@EmergMedDr) May 4, 2023
Anti-monarchy group Republic previously revealed its plans for King Charles' Coronation, highlighting that its supporters plan to wear yellow T-shirts and carry placards in groups along the procession route.
The group is understood to be planning to turn up at the route from 6am and will centre around the roundabout where the Charles I statue stands.
Journalist Ash Sarkar, who has been vocal in her views about protecting the public during the cost of living crisis, tells ELLE UK: 'The right to protest, to dissent, to freely express ourselves is an absolute. That is the foundation on which our democracy rest. We have to be able to disagree with those in power.'
Our tolerance for any disruption, whether through protest or otherwise, will be low.
We will deal robustly with anyone intent on undermining this celebration.
— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) May 3, 2023
One of the many criticisms of the coronation in recent months has been the financial impact it has on the country a time of serious economic unrest in the UK.
Model Munroe Bergdorf spoke of the 'sickening' timing of the coronation in a statement shared to Instagram days before the event.
Highlighted that event was 'out of touch' with everyday life in the UK, she wrote: 'Whether you’re pro or anti-monarchy, I don’t understand how in the midst of a cost of living crisis, national worker strikes, soaring inflation, escalating poverty and food bank usage that a person would support such an obscene display of wealth and power.'
Sarkar says that the Met Police's reaction to protests has 'put the unfairness of the institution into stark relief'.
Last September, following the death of the Queen, Labour leader Keir Starmer was among those urging those who protested against the monarchy to respect the late monarch's mourning period.
At the time, he told BBC Breakfast: 'Respect the fact that hundreds of thousands of people do want to come forward and have that moment. Don’t ruin it for them.'
While Sarkar disagrees with the anti-monarchist protests that occurred following the late Queen's passing, sympathising with the sadness that came with the royal family who lost 'their beloved grandmother and mother', she says 'it’s a political protest right, it’s something that affects the whole nation, not just one family'.
She adds: 'The argument is that you’re not supposed to express your disagreement with that, you're not meant to express your democratic right to protest, and my question is, "when are you meant to do it, if not at the accession and not at the coronation? When is the legitimate time to question the institution of monarchy".'
Sarkar also highlighted the unfairness of King Charles III being exempt from paying tax on his inheritance from the Queen. 'I think that’s so feudal,' she says, adding: 'We’re meant to believe in the principal of equality before the law,' and adds that no one should be above the rules that govern the rest of us. I think that’s crazy.
'That is an awful lot of money that could otherwise be put towards the NHS, our education system, crumbling infrastructure. Instead that money which should belong to the taxpayer, which should go for things which are for the public good, are for the enrichment and status of one family.'
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