Two anti-monarchy protesters were arrested during various ceremonies marking the announcement of Britain’s new king, Charles III.
A churchgoer on his way home in Oxford said he was arrested after shouting: “Who elected him?” when he stumbled upon a ceremony for the entry of a new monarch into the city.
Simon Hill has accused the police of abusing their powers, arguing that new policing and crime legislation has created a draconian atmosphere that has “significantly curtailed free speech and damaged democracy”.
Meanwhile, in Edinburgh, a 22-year-old woman was arrested after a sign calling for the end of the monarchy was put up before the accession event in the Scottish capital.
During the announcement outside St Giles Cathedral in the city, where the Queen’s coffin is due to lie on Monday, a man could be heard booing loudly.
Proclamations were read at ceremonies in towns and cities across the UK to officially announce that the Queen had died and the King had ascended the throne – part of a tradition that dates back hundreds of years.
The protests were sharply divided, with some people supporting free speech and others claiming they were disrespectful.
Mr Hill, a history tutor and peace activist, told The Independent he was alarmed and scared when he was arrested because he did not know why the police had detained him.
“I didn’t have a banner or a badge,” he said. “There were several hundred people between me and the steps.
“There was an expression of mourning. I certainly wouldn’t knock it. When they announced that Charles would become Charles III, I asked, “Who elected him?”
“Several people told me to shut up and I responded without insulting them.”
The guard immediately stood in front of Mr. Hill and told him to be quiet. According to him, other guards pushed him back.
“Then the police sort of pulled me away from the guards,” he said.
He said he was eventually told he had been detained under the new police and criminal law.
He was later “detained” in a police van and told that he would be contacted later for an interview in the presence of a lawyer.
“This is massive abuse by the police,” he said. “The fact that they didn’t know what they arrested me for was alarming.
“People around me didn’t agree, but they didn’t like that I was being arrested.”
In Edinburgh, the crowd applauded as officers took the protester away.
The crowd saw a sign reading “Black Imperialism, Abolish the Monarchy”.
The witness says that during the announcement, someone shouted: “Republic now.”
After Lord Lion King gave three cheers, there were whistles.
Some mourners called the pranksters disrespectful, saying they should have avoided the proclamation if they believed in a republic.
One man shouted: “Let her go, it’s free speech” while others shouted: “Have respect”.
Police Scotland said the woman was arrested in connection with a public order offence.
Helen Smith, from Livingston, said: “I think everyone has a right to protest but I thought this was the wrong place and the wrong time.
“[It was] incredibly disrespectful to the event we just witnessed.”