Police given emergency powers to stop Coronation protest choas

King Charles: Protesters chant ‘not my King’

The Government has given the police emergency powers to help them tackle protesters, just days ahead of the King’s coronation. The Public Order Act received Royal Assent yesterday, through the new police powers to crack down on nuisance protesting weren’t set to come into effect for a couple of months. The Government has moved to fast-track some of the new powers coming into force, however.

Trom today, police will be able to stop and search protesters for materials such as padlocks, superglue and bike locks that would be used to chain themselves to buildings or glue themselves to roads.

Anyone caught “locking-on” to people, objects or buildings can, from today, receive a sentence of up to six months and an unlimited fine.

They will also be able to stop and search protesters suspected of carrying digging tools.

Blocking roads, oil refineries, railways and printing presses will also now attract a maximum sentence of 12 months in prison and an unlimited fine.

This morning, Security Minister Tom Tugendhat said the new powers had been brought forward to facilitate the movement of Londoners and visitors at the forthcoming coronation.

He told Times Radio: “These are powers that we’ve been speaking about for a while ever since the police started to ask for them… this government is doing what I think is absolutely right, which is making sure that in order to grow the economy, we enable people to get around.”

“This is a major, major national moment,

“These are powers that we were going for anyway. And the police asked for anyway. So this isn’t a significant change. It’s a change of time rather than tone.”

Mr Tugendhat added that the extra powers to move people on are “perfectly reasonable”.

Anti-monarchy group Republic received official an official warning letter from the Home Office’s Police Powers Unit, warning of the new powers and requesting they tell their supporters about the new increased prison sentences and police powers.

The republican group, who plan protests for the day of the coronation, were told by the Home Office: “I would be grateful if you could publicise and forward this letter to your members who are likely to be affected by these legislative changes,”

Republic’s chief executive, Graham Smith, descibed the letter as “very odd”, and claimed lawyers had been in touch with him to say it “sounds like intimidation”.

The anti-monarchy group plans to picket the official coronation route with banners reading “Not My King”, including at the statue of Charles I in Trafalgar Square, who was beheaded in 1649.

Other groups, including Extinction Rebellion, have also received Home Office letters.

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Home Secretary Suella Braverman said: “This legislation is the latest step the government has taken against protesters who use highly disruptive tactics to deliberately delay members of the public, often preventing them from getting to work and hospital, as well as missing loved ones’ funerals.

“The range of new offences and penalties match the seriousness of the threat guerrilla tactics pose to our infrastructure, taxpayers’ money and police time.”

A Home Office source told the Guardian that the warning letter sent to Republic was meant to inform, not intimidate.

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