Police accused of using human rights law to block Trooping the Colour protest

The Metropolitan Police have been accused of seeking to use human rights legislation to block anti-monarchy protests at this weekend’s Trooping the Colour.

The anti-monarchy group Republic said police had written to them citing the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) as justification for closing down nearby protest.

Republic claimed this was based on the “spurious grounds” that a protest would deny spectators the right to enjoy the parade, adding that human rights legislation “does not provide a right to enjoy a day out”.

The pressure group said no final decision had been made, but accused the police of insisting protest is “moved to a place that is out of sight of the parade and media”.

Republic, which campaigns for the abolition of the monarchy and its replacement with a directly elected head of state, said the move by the police was “Kafkaesque”.

The group claimed it was told at the start of the month by the Metropolitan Police that the force was “relaxed” and had “no issue” with the location of the protest.

The Met was criticised last year after six Republic members were detained ahead of a pre-agreed coronation protest on May 6.

Republic chief executive Graham Smith accused the police of appearing “willing to enforce the wishes of Royal Parks”, whom he claimed “want to ban all protest outside Buckingham Palace”.

He added that this would be a “serious affront to democratic rights in this country”.

Pledging to challenge the police and Royal Parks, Mr Smith said: “Human rights laws protect the right to meaningfully protest. To see those same laws used to effectively ban protest is a very worrying development.

“The police want us to protest well away from Buckingham Palace and away from the parade, where we will not be seen or heard. This is on the spurious grounds that a protest would deny spectators the right to enjoy the parade.

“The Human Rights Act and ECHR does not provide a right to enjoy a day out, and the experience of all our protests is that we successfully protest alongside spectators without incident.

“The argument that a protest is infringing on the rights of others to enjoy an event is particularly dangerous, opening up the possibility of banning any number of political protests on the most spurious grounds.”

Mr Smith added that he was calling on all parties fighting the election to “guarantee protection of meaningful peaceful protest”.

The Metropolitan Police have been approached for comment.

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