As the United Kingdom and world mourn the death of death of Queen Elizabeth II, the country’s longest-reigning monarch, the country is witnessing growing calls for doing away with monarchy altogether. Moreover, the hashtag ‘NotMyKing’ was trending on Twitter as Queen Elizabeth’s eldest son, Prince Charles, acceded to the British throne.
Social media alone was just not the place for protests. People out in the street was seen carrying anti-monarchists signs. They shouted slogans and heckling royals during some of the events being held across the country to mark the death of the Queen.
The police came down heavily on the protestors and arrested a few of them. However, the police treatment against the “NotMyking” protestors sparked criticism. The first report emerged on Sunday, when Symon Hill from Oxford was arrested after he shouted, “who elected him?”, while a document formally proclaiming Charles as king was read aloud. Later, Hill wrote about his experience in a blog post, where he alleged he was handcuffed and not told what he was being arrested for.
Meanwhile, a 22-year-old in Edinburgh was violently pushed to the ground by some members of the crowd for allegedly heckling Prince Andrew, before being dragged away by the police.
Another activist and lawyer, Paul Powlesland said that the police questioned him when he “held up a blank piece of paper”. He said that the officer had told him that if he had written ‘Not My King’ on it, then he could arrest him under the Public Order Act because someone might be offended.
NotMyKing; GOVERNMENT STAND
On the ongoing protests and criticism against the police, a spokesperson for UK Prime Minister Liz Truss said that it was a period of national mourning for the vast, vast majority of the country. The spokesperson was also quoted in the media as saying that the fundamental right to protest remains the keystone of the democracy.
Coincidentally, a video of Truss as a teenager calling the monarchy “disgraceful” went viral on social media. “I’m not against any of them personally — I’m against the idea that people can be born to rule,” Truss can be heard saying in the clip.
NOTMYKING; ANTI-MONARCHY SENTIMENT
It is the republican lobbying group s who are behind the sustained campaign to abolish the monarchy and the protest has long-preceded the death of Queen Elizabeth II. The Republic campaign seeks to overturn the government into a republic with an elected head of state. The group believed that the monarchy is an outdated system which has no place in modern society.
There are several instances in history where such protests against the monarchy has taken place. The opposition to the monarchy dates back to about the 18th century, when British radical Thomas Paine, inspired by the French Revolution, called for a complete overhaul of the British court. He called for the creation of a written constitution, dismantling the Church of England, and the reform of aristocratic land ownership. The anti-monarchy sentiments was widespread during the the Queen Victoria’s rule. When she withdrew from public life in 1861, following the death of Prince Consort Albert Edward, their son became the target of widespread criticism.