Anti-monarchy group accuses Met of blocking protest

Trooping the colour band marching down the mall
Trooping the Colour marks the King's official birthday [Getty Images]

The Metropolitan Police has been accused of seeking to use human rights legislation to block anti-monarchy protests at this weekend's Trooping the Colour.

The anti-monarchy group Republic said police had written to them citing the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) as justification for closing down a nearby protest.

Republic claimed this was based on the "spurious grounds" that a protest would deny spectators the right to enjoy the parade, adding that human rights legislation "does not provide a right to enjoy a day out".

BBC News has asked the Metropolitan Police to comment.

The King will make a high-profile appearance on Saturday to mark his official birthday during Trooping the Colour, which takes place at Horse Guards Parade near Buckingham Palace in central London.

Republic, which campaigns for the abolition of the monarchy, claimed it was told at the start of the month by the Metropolitan Police that the force was "relaxed" and had "no issue" with the location of the protest.

However, it said police had since insisted protesters move to a "place that is out of sight of the parade and media".

Republic chief executive Graham Smith said: "Human rights laws protect the right to meaningfully protest. To see those same laws used to effectively ban protest is a very worrying development."

Anti-monarchy protesters in London
Republic activists have protested at various royal occasions [PA Media]

Mr Smith added: "The Human Rights Act and ECHR does not provide a right to enjoy a day out, and the experience of all our protests is that we successfully protest alongside spectators without incident.

"The argument that a protest is infringing on the rights of others to enjoy an event is particularly dangerous, opening up the possibility of banning any number of political protests on the most spurious grounds."

The pressure group said no final decision had been made.

The Met was criticised last year after six Republic members were detained ahead of a pre-agreed coronation protest on 6 May.

Sir Mark Rowley, head of the Met, defended his officers at the time and said there was a "concerning" threat to the event.

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