One woman who reportedly held up a sign calling for the monarchy to be abolished was arrested and charged and will appear in court at a later date.
Free speech campaigners have criticised the police’s decision to make arrests and urged the woman arrested in Edinburgh to reach out to them for support.
Three charged in Edinburgh
A man who is thought to have heckled Prince Andrew during the procession of the Queen’s coffin through Edinburgh yesteday (12 September) has been charged with breach of the peace.
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: "A 22-year old man was arrested and charged in connection with a breach of the peace on the Royal Mile around 2.50pm on Monday, 12 September 2022.
"He was released on an undertaking to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court at a later date and a report will be sent to the Procurator Fiscal."
This comes after a woman was arrested when a protester was seen holding an anti-monarchist sign during the proclamation of the new King in Edinburgh.
Moments before the ceremony on Sunday afternoon (September 11), a demonstrator appeared in the crowd opposite the Mercat Cross. She held a sign saying “f*** imperialism, abolish monarchy”.
Officers appeared behind her and took her away, prompting the crowd to applaud.
One man shouted: “Let her go, it’s free speech,” while others yelled: “Have some respect.”
It came after people were heard booing during the event.
The national anthem was then sung but, afterwards, people could be heard calling for a republic.
A police spokesman said a 22-year-old woman was arrested “in connection with a breach of the peace”.
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: "A 22-year-old woman was arrested outside St. Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh on Sunday, 11 September, 2022 in connection with a breach of the peace.
“She was charged and was released on an undertaking to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court at a later date."
The same day, a 74-year old man was arrested also in connection with a breach of the peace, he was then charged and appeared in court yesterday (12 September).
A spokesperson said: "A 74-year old man was arrested in the vicinity of the Palace of Holyroodhouse around 3.50pm on Sunday, 11 September 2022 in connection with a breach of the peace.”
Man in Oxford de-arrested but will be questioned
Meanwhile, in Oxford, 45-year-old Symon Hill was arrested for a breach of the peace after voicing his opposition to the idea of an unelected head of state during the announcement of King Charles’ ascension.
Writing for the news blog Bright Green, Hill said he was arrested after asking “who elected him?” following the declaration of Charles as king.
“I remained quiet in the first part of the proclamation, concerning the death of Elizabeth,” he wrote.
“Any death is sad and I would not object to people mourning”
“It was only when they declared Charles to be “King Charles III” that I called out ‘Who elected him?’ I doubt most of the people in the crowd even heard me. Two or three people near me told me to shut up. I didn’t insult them or attack them personally, but responded by saying that a head of state was being imposed on us without our consent.”
Hill says that he was then approached by three security guards who “tried to push me backwards” before the police intervened and led him away.
Hill was handcuffed and put into a police van, where his details were taken and he was eventually told he would be de-arrested and interviewed at a later date, and he may also be charged.
Hill says that throughout the incident the police failed to clarify the grounds on which he’d been arrested, until he was told he’d been arrested “under the Police, Crime, Sentencing & Courts Act 2022… for actions likely to lead to ‘harassment or distress’”.
Thames Valley police say Hill was arrested on suspicion of a public order offence, Section 5 Public Order Act.
A 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 offence.”
Toby Young, head of The Free Speech union, said: “No one should be arrested for holding up placards criticising the monarchy, even at a time of national mourning. As Lord Justice Sedley said, ‘Freedom only to speak inoffensively is not worth having.’
“I urge the woman arrested in Edinburgh to contact the Free Speech Union where we will provide her with every assistance.”