Anti-monarchy protesters slammed for ‘bad taste’

Queen: Mourner recalls seeing monarch lying-in-state

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Anti-monarchists should not be allowed to protest during the period of national mourning following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, a new poll of readers has found.

The country entered a period of national mourning following the Queen’s death on September 8, which will last until the end of the day of the state funeral on Monday, September 19.

Several individuals have been arrested in recent days for staging protests at official events for Her Majesty.

Police have taken action over anti-monarchy protests in Edinburgh, London, and Oxford, with toughened laws giving officers the power to act in situations which are “unjustifiably noisy” or “have a significant impact on others”.

Despite taking action, Scotland Yard issued a statement on Tuesday stating that the public “absolutely have a right to protest”. 

In a poll that ran from 9am on Tuesday, September 13 to 8am on Thursday, September 15, asked readers: “Should anti-monarchists be allowed to protest during period of mourning?”

A total of 2,813 people responded with the majority, 75 percent (2,085 people) answered “no” anti-monarchy protests should be banned during national mourning.

A further 25 percent (715 people) said “yes” such protests should be allowed, while just 13 people said they did not know either way.

Hundreds of comments were left below the accompanying article as readers shared their thoughts on anti-monarchy protests occurring.

Many readers argued that such demonstrations should be stopped until after the Queen’s funeral as a matter of respect.

Username zippo58 said: “There is a time and a place to protest, and this is not the time!”

Username EUTHESINKINGSHIP said: “They can protest all they want after Her Majesty has been laid to rest, until then show respect.”

Another, username Pockets 051 said: “Common decency, respect and consideration should take precedence. Protest all you like but not right now. Free speech does not trump everything.”

And username Milton keynes mum wrote: “While it is free speech, at the present time it is in bad taste.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has urged demonstrators to “respect” mourning Britons and not “ruin” their experience. 

Speaking on Wednesday about the police response to anti-monarchy demonstrators on BBC breakfast, he said: “The word I’d use around that issue is ‘respect’. 

“I think if people have spent a long time waiting to come forward to have that moment as the coffin goes past or whatever it may be, I think respect that, because people have made a huge effort to come and have that private moment to say thank you to Queen Elizabeth II.”

He added: “Obviously we have to respect the fact that some people disagree.

“One of the great British traditions is the ability to protest and to disagree, but I think if it can be done in the spirit of respect.”

However, other readers commented that anti-monarchy protests should be allowed to share their views.

Username borishouseparty said: “I think it’s tasteless to protest at that moment, but that’s the price of free speech and democracy. As long as they’re not inciting violence then it’s their right to protest.” 

Username Siwn said: “Yes. As long as they do so in the right place. During the passage of a funeral procession is not the right place.”

While username downthebeach  wrote: “We are a free and democratic society, and freedom of speech and the right to protest should run hand in hand with this, so although I don’t necessarily agree with anti-monarchist protests, etc. at this time, I don’t think they should be disallowed.”

Senior Tory MP David Davis shared his concern over the arrests of anti-monarchy activists on Twitter.

He wrote on Tuesday: “At a time of national mourning, we should all ensure that we behave respectfully. But we must not sacrifice the principle of free speech upon which modern Britain is built,” he tweeted.

“I am a staunch monarchist, but republicans have as much right to voice their opinions as anyone else.”

Earlier this week, Graham Smith, from the anti-monarchy pressure group Republic, said: “This is absolutely the time to talk about the future of the monarchy because we have a new monarch.  

“The arrests of protesters over the past 24 hours have been absolutely appalling. The police should be ashamed of themselves.”

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