As King Charles III nearly wraps up his first ‘work week’ following the May 6 coronation, an inquiry is about to start into how the Metropolitan Police handled the anti-monarchy protests in London on coronation day — one of the news agency photos showed the police physically carrying away a protester, and social media photos showed yellow-jacketed protesters lined up against a wall by police officers. Now, the matter is coming up for a review by Members of the UK Parliament.
Next week, on Wednesday, the Home Affairs select committee will start scrutinising how the Met Police handled the pro-republican, anti-monarchy protests. The protesters, clad in yellow and holding up yellow placards with the slogans ‘Not my king’, ‘Abolish monarchy’ and so on, were visible in a sea of bodies waving the Union Jack and cheering for the new king.
The May 6 protest was organised by the UK group Republic, and several of the group members were held for up to 16 hours under the Public Order Act 2023.
The Met Police have already expressed their regret over the arrests. Not at all mollified by their apparent regret, Graham Smith of the campaign group Republic today posted on the group’s website: “This has been a very difficult time for those involved, and I want to be clear that we stand should-to-shoulder with all protesters who were unlawfully arrested on the weekend.”
Smith’s post on the Republic website added: “This new law is a disgrace and needs to be repealed. Along with other recent public order legislation, it has muddied the water and extended powers to the point that citizens are powerless to assert their right to protest.”
He said that the Met Police personnel arresting the anti-monarchy placard-holders on coronation day “appeared confused about what they were arresting protesters for”.
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King Charles III visits Cambridge University
Anti-monarchy protests notwithstanding, the new King of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms went to work this week. As part of his first public engagement after the coronation, King Charles III visited Cambridge University on Tuesday. He visited Whittle Laboratory to break ground on the new laboratory and met academics.
A Twitter post by Cambridge University said: “We were thrilled to welcome His Majesty The King to Cambridge today, on his first public engagement after the #Coronation.” The university said that the new Whittle lab would be “the leading global centre for net zero aviation and energy”.
Another tweet from the university said: “The £58 million facility’s mission is to halve the time to develop key technologies to support a sustainable aviation industry. Recent trials at @whittlelab have shown this can be done by joining up academia and industry.”
Perhaps there was none better than King Charles III to break ground on this new science facility. The monarch, now 74, has been an environmental sustainability campaigner for nearly five decades. At the age of 21, he gave his first notable speech on the need for sustainability, referring to the dangers of plastic pollution. As recently as June 2021, he launched a new charter named ‘Terra Carta’, for sustainable corporate action.