Republican protests continue in UK

Republicans in Wales staged protests during the visit of King Charles III. Meanwhile, police action against those criticizing the monarchy has been widely criticized

September 17, 2022 by Peoples Dispatch

On Friday, September 16, republican sections in Wales protested Charles III’s first official visit to the Welsh capital, Cardiff. His visit was part of the series of trips he is making to the four constituent nations of the United Kingdom following his ascent as king. Earlier, on September 13, while Charles III visited Northern Ireland, activists from the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) and Connolly Youth Movement (CYM) participated in the protest at Falls Road in Belfast city, carrying banners and placards that read ‘We serve neither King nor Kaiser, but Ireland!’

In many other parts of the UK too, anti-monarchy groups and other republican sections staged protests demanding the abolition of the monarchy. The hashtag #NotMyKing also gained much traction on social media.

Charles III ascended to throne following the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II, the country’s longest-reigning monarch on September 8. Her funeral is scheduled for September 19. A ‘royal mourning’ period is set to continue till September 26. According to reports, the Queen’s funeral and the official coronation of Charles III are likely to cost a hefty sum of money at a time when the people are reeling under soaring inflation and an acute cost of living crisis.

The Young Communist League (YCL-Britain) noted that “With the coming state funeral for the former monarch, Elizabeth II, the country has seen a mass closure of the most necessary public services. Food Banks will shut, cancer & other life saving treatments are canceled, & industrial action will halt!”

On September 14, the Communist Party of Britain (CPB) slammed the ascent of Charles III to the throne as a ‘VERY BRITISH COUP.’

CPB has stated that “the haste to anoint a new King, even before the Queen is buried, has all the makings of an establishment coup. There was no pause to allow the people to discuss whether they wanted another hereditary habitually tax-evading billionaire to lord it over them. They did the same thing when we were dragged into the then Common Market without a vote. Or when the Government bombed Yugoslavia and Iraq.”

“The communists campaign for a future based on popular sovereignty where the people have their say and their will holds sway. That’s a future without Kings or their ‘firm’,” added the CPB.

Earlier on September 9, in their statement in the wake of the death of Queen, the Connolly Youth Movement (CYM) in Ireland, extended “condolences to those victims of British imperialism as well as the British working class and pensioners, who will go through this current crisis without the benefit of inherited wealth in addition to minimal recognition of their suffering.”

Harassment of protesters condemned

Meanwhile, the police action on anti-monarchy protesters in Britain was criticized by activists as an affront to democracy and freedom of expression, Morning Star reported.

Last week, the security forces arrested and harassed people who were protesting against the monarchy in Oxford, Edinburgh and Parliament Square in London. While all such protests were peaceful, the police arrested and detained protesters on the charges of  “breach of peace” and “causing disruption.” Rights groups accused the police of abuse of power.

Subsequently, Ken Marsh, chair of the Metropolitan Police Federation, acknowledged that people have the right to stage such protests.

On September 13, Jeremy Corbyn MP tweeted that “the arrests of republican protesters is wrong, anti-democratic and an abuse of the law. People should be able to express their views as a basic right.”