“The solution is to emigrate”

Mark Cunliffe writes about the repressive policing of coronation protests last weekend:

It became very clear early on Coronation Saturday that things were not right. Reports emerged that police had targeted vans belonging to #NotMyKing protesters, and that others were also targeted by police before they had even begun to protest. 

Many MPs were quick to condemn the actions of the police with Nottingham East MP Nadia Whittome tweeting: “Protest is fundamental to democracy. People must have the right to oppose having an unelected head of state, or more than £100m of public funds being spent on a coronation when millions rely on food banks. These arrests should concern us all.”

Coventry South MP Zarah Sultana tweeted “It is deeply disturbing that organisers of the #NotMyKing protest in London have been arrested this morning, before the protest even began. Whatever you think of the monarchy, the right to peaceful protest is fundamental to democracy. This is a chilling violation of that right.”

And why on earth should the monarchy be immune from protest anyway? Nobody asked for the monarchy, let alone voted for it; why shouldn’t people express their opinion of it?

Perhaps even more sinister is that the CEO of Republic, Graham Smith, who was one of 64 arrested at the Coronation, repeatedly stated that he had been in close conversation with the Met for four months prior to the event, that they knew all the details of the protest and had approved them.

This is the same Met that’s notoriously riddled with misogyny, right? The one that included Wayne Couzens in its ranks? Now it pretends to approve protests in advance and then goes “Hahaha busting you anyway, suckaaaaaaaaaaaaas.”

[O]n coronation day the Conservative party’s deputy chair, Lee Anderson Tweeted “Not My King? If you do not wish to live in a country that has a monarchy the solution is not to turn up with your silly boards. The solution is to emigrate.” It’s not quite as easy as that: Brexit took away our rights to live, work and retire in 27 other European states and we are now restricted to just 90-day visits. 

Also that’s not the solution anyway. People are allowed to object to aspects of government, and say so, and protest them. They’re allowed to do that and go on living in the country in question.

Or they could but perhaps under Rishi Sunak’s Public Order Bill they no longer can.

Is it being melodramatic to compare our government’s new laws and the subsequent police action to those of Russia or North Korea? The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, recently warned:

“This new law imposes serious and undue restrictions on these rights that are neither necessary nor proportionate to achieve a legitimate purpose as defined under international law. This law is wholly unnecessary as UK police already have the powers to act against violent and disruptive demonstrations.”

He added: “It is especially worrying that the law expands the powers of the police to stop and search individuals, including without suspicion, defines some of the new criminal offences in a vague and overly broad manner and imposes unnecessary and disproportionate criminal sanctions on people organizing or taking part in peaceful protests.”


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