A large crowd of anti-monarchy protesters gathered outside the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey today, calling for an end to the monarchy and an end to royal involvement in the Commonwealth.
Republic has been staging a series of protests for the past twelve months, focussing on significant royal engagements. The group - which campaigns for the abolition of the monarchy - says the Commonwealth has little to do with the royals and doesn't live up to royal platitudes about unity or shared values.
Speaking for Republic, Graham Smith said today:
"Fewer than one in ten Commonwealth citizens have Charles as their head of state. 75% of Commonwealth nations are republics. The Commonwealth has very little to do with the royals."
"The royals need to stop using the Commonwealth as a vehicle for their own PR. The platitudes we hear from Charles and Camilla only serve to paper over serious concerns about human rights abuses and a lack of democracy in many Commonwealth countries."
"Many Commonwealth countries, notably in the Caribbean, are talking about ditching the royals while demanding reparations from Charles."
"The royal family funded, promoted and defended slavery for centuries, and then presided over an empire that caused untold damage to people's lives that continues to have an impact to this day."
"Reparations are a reasonable demand. As a hereditary monarch, Charles can hardly argue that what his ancestors did has nothing to with him.
"Charles is sitting on a billion pound fortune, much of which was inherited down the line from his slaver-family predecessors. He should start paying that money back to the communities blighted by the legacy of slavery and empire."
"Here in the UK support for the monarchy has fallen sharply. For those below the age of 45 there are now more wanting a republic than the monarchy. That's why Republic is growing and why these protests will continue."
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