Two demonstrators who expressed republican sentiments have been arrested in the acts of proclamation of the ascension to the throne of King Carlos III.
One man said he was arrested for yelling, “Who chose him?” when the proclamation was read at Oxford.
Symon Hill, 45, said he had stumbled upon the event by chance while walking home from church. The history tutor said that after he shouted the words, some people nearby told him to “shut up” and he responded by saying, “A head of state has been imposed on us without our consent.”
Three security guards approached him before police intervened, he said. Hill said he was taken to a police van, despite protests from others, who defended his right to free expression.
Hill said he had been arrested earlier for participating in a nonviolent protest against the arms trade but had not been surprised, despite believing his actions were justified.
On the contrary, referring to his latest arrest, he said: “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone arrested for such paltry reasons, let alone experienced it myself.
“I did not disrupt the ceremony in any significant sense; I just shouted something that some people close to me would have heard, and then they continued with the ceremony, and [the police] hung up on me I find it really alarming that you can be arrested for expressing an opinion in public. I feel quite shocked.”
After he wrote about the incident on Twitter, Republic, which is campaigning to replace the monarchy with an elected head of state, wrote: “That’s outrageous.”
A Thames Valley Police spokesman said: “A 45-year-old man has been arrested in connection with a disturbance that was caused during the proclamation ceremony for King Charles III in Oxford.
“He has since been released and is voluntarily engaging with us as we investigate a public order offence. The man was arrested on suspicion of a public order offence. [under section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986].”
Section 5 applies to behavior that is considered likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.
In Edinburgh, a woman holding a sign reading “Fuck Imperialism, Abolish the Monarchy” was arrested moments before the proclamation was read. The incident took place outside St Giles Cathedral, where the Queen’s coffin is due to rest on Monday.
A police spokesman said a 22-year-old woman had been arrested in connection with disorderly conduct. Some people were heard booing at the King’s proclamation during the Edinburgh event.