The Metropolitan Police has expressed “regret” over six arrests of anti-monarchy protestors ahead of the King’s coronation on Saturday.

Republic chief executive Graham Smith said a chief inspector and two other Metropolitan Police officers personally apologised to him over what he called a “disgraceful episode” after they visited him on Monday evening.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had earlier backed the Met over the dozens of arrests of protesters amid concerns they were cracking down on the right to protest.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan requested “further clarity” from Scotland Yard, saying that the right to peaceful protest is an integral part of democracy.


The Met issued a lengthy defence as it confirmed Mr Smith and five others have been told they face no further action after being stopped at 6.40am on Saturday.

In a statement, the force said it had arrested the group after it was believed items found alongside a large number of placards could be used as “lock-on devices” to cause disruption.

They said: “Those arrested stated the items would be used to secure their placards, and the investigation has been unable to prove intent to use them to lock on and disrupt the event.

“This evening, all six have had their bail cancelled and no further action will be taken.

“We regret that those six people arrested were unable to join the wider group of protesters in Trafalgar Square and elsewhere on the procession route.”

The force insisted its action was “targeted” at those believed to be “intent on taking this action”.

“Any suggestion all protest was prohibited is not correct,” it added.

Mr Smith said the three officers apologised to him at his home in Reading, Berkshire, before handing back the straps for the placards they arrested him over.

He told the PA news agency: “They seemed rather embarrassed, to be honest.

“I said for the record I won’t accept the apology. We have a lot of questions to answer and we will be taking action.”

Scotland Yard said 52 of the 64 arrests made during its coronation operation on Saturday related to concerns individuals were going to disrupt the pageantry.

So far, four charges have been brought.