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Several anti-monarchy protestors in the UK have been arrested for demonstrating against King Charles

Since the death of Elizabeth II, several protesters have been arrested for criticizing the monarchy. Some associations and elected officials denounce an attack on freedom of expression.

In the midst of national mourning following the death of Elizabeth II in the United Kingdom, the sidelining of anti-monarchy demonstrators, politely escorted or dislodged manu militari, provoked criticism of respect for freedom of expression, pushing the police to London to call its agents to order.

The death of the 96-year-old sovereign, who was immensely popular, triggered a strong wave of emotion which aroused tributes of rare unanimity, including Northern Irish Republicans and Scottish separatists.

It also aroused some discordant voices from the republican movement, very little active in the country where the monarchy was little debated under the reign of Queen Elizabeth, a figure of unity over the decades who had managed to maintain an irreproachable neutrality.

“An affront to democracy”

Before the coffin of Elizabeth II arrived in Edinburgh on Sunday, police in Scotland arrested a woman who was holding an Abolition of the Monarchy sign to applause to the applause of public order.

During the funeral procession passing through the Scottish capital on Monday, a video circulated showing a man shouting old sick man! to Prince Andrew, who paid millions in the United States to avoid a trial for sexual assault, before being violently removed from the crowd by officers.

In Oxford, central England, a 45-year-old peace activist was briefly arrested after shouting Who elected him? during a public proclamation of the new king.

Civil liberties organization Big Brother Watch has denounced an affront to democracy, saying the right to free speech is the bedrock of British democracy.

Representatives of the Labor opposition joined in the criticism and even Downing Street recalled that the fundamental right to demonstrate remains a keystone of democracy.

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"Not My King"

As King Charles III traveled to Parliament in London on Monday to receive condolences from both Houses, two protesters, a man and a woman, held up papers reading Not My King, Abolition of the Monarchy and End of Feudalism, on the sidewalk in front of the Palace of Westminster.

The woman then approached the gates of Parliament and then police officers escorted her from a distance in a calm manner, according to images posted on Twitter by the Evening Standard newspaper which have been re-shared thousands of times.

The public absolutely has the right to demonstrate, we have made this clear to all officers involved in the extraordinary police operation currently in place and we will continue to do so, reacted the Metropolitan Police, for whom to frame the funeral of Elizabeth II is an unprecedented law enforcement operation.

King Charles, less popular than his mother could be a major cause of their protests.

According to a poll published on the occasion of the 70 years of reign in June by the YouGov institute, 62% of the British believe that the country should remain a monarchy, only 22% believing that there should be an elected head of state. Support for the monarchy is weaker among young people, however, and Charles is far less popular than his mother.

Parliament welcomes Charles Windsor as the new head of state in this country without the people having a say, the protester surrounded by police told AFP in the viral video. She denounced her income of several million pounds: For what? Say hello and shake hands?

The question of public finances

The cost of the British monarchy is one of the main subjects of criticism in the British press, even if the latter remain not very virulent. And that some note that the “Windsor brand” brings a lot to the country, in particular through tourism.

During the proclamation ceremony, Charles III confirmed that he wanted to continue to transfer to the public finances the income derived from the patrimony of the Crown (land, investments, etc.) in exchange for an annual allowance ("sovereign grant") set at 15% of these revenues.

This amount represented 86.3 million pounds for 2021-2022, or 98 million euros.

In a UK on edge – 44% of Britons shed a tear according to YouGov – the reactions are sometimes extreme. A Scottish fish & chips owner had popped the champagne when the sovereign died and posted the video online. The window of his shop was smashed.

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