Royal wedding protest reassurance sought from police
Campaigners have written to the Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police, Francis Habgood, asking for reassurances that the police will not obstruct peaceful protests on the day of the royal wedding.
Reports suggest extensive security in the area, including searches of vistors and residents. At previous royal events the police have been criticised for pre-emptive arrests and inappropriate comments regarding the right to protest.
Graham Smith, CEO of Republic, has written to Chief Constable Habgood, asking for reassurances ahead of the wedding on May 19.
In the email he says:
"The monarchy is a contested institution and, while this is a private wedding, all major royal events such as this are used as PR for the monarchy. It is therefore vital that the usual procedures and policies for allowing and facilitating peaceful protest remain in place."
"Can you please reassure me that anyone found carrying a placard or banner or appearing to be heading to the site of the wedding to protest will not be arrested or obstructed, unless there is a genuine risk to public safety? Can you confirm that the right to peaceful protest will continue in Windsor on the day of the wedding, including within the secure area and near the route of the royal procession?"
"Any attempt by the police to disrupt protest in order to serve the interests of the royal household would be wholly inappropriate. Comments from police forces in the past have suggested that there is a real danger this will happen in Windsor. Your assurance that a royal wedding is no grounds for banning peaceful protest will be welcomed, not just by protesters or republicans, but by millions of people who believe the right to protest is a fundamental part of British life."
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