Speed Reads

god save the queen?

Anti-monarchy protesters are being arrested in the U.K., sparking debate

As the royal family mourns the death of Queen Elizabeth II, police in the United Kingdom have meanwhile arrested several individuals protesting both the monarchy and King Charles III.

As of Monday afternoon, police had reportedly arrested at least 4 individuals, including one man in Oxford and three individuals from Edinburgh, Scotland, reports AJ+.

In Edinburgh, for instance, a 22-year-old woman was apprehended on Sunday for brandishing a sign that read "abolish monarchy" and "f--k imperialism." Police claim the arrest was "in connection with a breach of the peace"; the case is now pending at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, NPR reports. Authorities also told Buzzfeed News that the woman was taken in not for her sign, but for her alleged behavior.

Author and activist Symon Hill was then arrested Monday after shouting "Who elected him?" in regards to Charles' ascension. Hill says his remarks did nothing to disrespect the late queen or disrupt the public mourning process. "I doubt most of the people in the crowd even heard me," he claimed, recounting his experience online. "Two or three people near me told me to shut up." Hill was ultimately "de-arrested," he said.

The arrests notably arrive in the wake of a new U.K. law that permits police to step in during what they deem to be disruptive, noisy, and impactful protests.

All in all, the incidents have sparked an interesting freedom of speech debate in the U.K. — some activist groups, for example, are concerned about the implications of this purported police crackdown, but other individuals would just rather the demonstrations wait until the time of mourning has passed.