King Charles Protesters Arrested in U.K.—'Outrageous Assault on Democracy'

Two anti-royalist protesters were arrested in the U.K. over the weekend amid King Charles III's ascension to the throne, with one activist calling the moves "an outrageous assault on democracy"

Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-serving monarch, died peacefully in her sleep at Balmoral Castle, the royal family's country retreat, on Thursday afternoon, aged 96.

Since the queen died there have been continuous ceremonies in Britain, as well as in Commonwealth countries, to mark her passing and Charles' ascension to the throne. On Sunday, the late monarch's coffin took a six-hour trip through Scotland, from Balmoral to Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. The procession drew thousands of onlookers to see the queen arrive in the Scottish capital.

One anti-royalist protester who got arrested on Sunday was close to a remembrance ceremony at Mercat Cross in Edinburgh, by St Giles' Cathedral, where the Queen's coffin will lie on Monday.

The woman was holding a "f*** imperialism, abolish monarchy" sign appeared in the crowd.

Officers appeared behind the protester and whisked her away, prompting some in the crowd to applaud.

One man yelled: "Let her go, it's free speech," while others shouted "have some respect."

Hecklers were also heard booing during the event.

A police spokesperson confirmed that a 22-year-old woman had been arrested "in connection with a breach of the peace."

Symon Hill, 45, was also arrested for shouting "who elected him?" during a reading of a proclamation in Oxford, England on Sunday.

Hill, a history tutor, told The Guardian that he had come across the event by chance while walking home from church.

Hill said after he shouted "who elected him?" three security guards approached and the police came and arrested him, taking him off in a van, despite other people nearby saying he was entitled to free speech.

The tutor later tweeted: "I was arrested today in #Oxford after I voiced my opposition to the proclamation of "#CharlesIII". Can we be arrested simply for expressing an opinion in public? I was arrested under the Police Bill passed earlier this year. This is an outrageous assault on democracy."

Newsweek has contacted Hill for comment.

Hill had previously been arrested for taking part in a non-violent protest against the arms trade.

Speaking to The Guardian, Hill said: "I don't think I've ever seen anyone arrested on such threadbare grounds, let alone experienced it myself.

"I didn't in any meaningful sense disrupt the ceremony; I just called out something that a few people near me would have heard, and then they carried on with the ceremony, and they [the police] collared me. I find it really alarming that you can be arrested for expressing an opinion in public. I am feeling quite shaken."

A Thames Valley police spokesperson said: "A 45-year-old man was arrested in connection with a disturbance that was caused during the county proclamation ceremony of King Charles III in Oxford.

"He has subsequently been de-arrested and is engaging with us voluntarily as we investigate a public order offense. The man was arrested on suspicion of a public order offense [under section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986]."

Section 5 includes behavior that is seen as likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

Edinburgh Queen car
The hearse carrying the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II passes St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh on its way to the Palace of Holyroodhouse as it completes it journey from Balmoral on September 11, 2022 in Edinburgh, United Kingdom. Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was born in Bruton Street, Mayfair, London on 21 April 1926. A anti-monarchy protester was arrested at a ceremony in Edinburgh on Sunday. Phil Wilkinson/WPA Pool/Getty