Republicans in York demo plan ‘joyful’ protest at king’s coronation

Republican protesters who demonstrated outside the Royal Maundy service said they expected more than a thousand people to protest at the coronation but vowed they would keep it “pretty jolly”.

A group of about 30 people chanted “not my king” and held up banners as Charles and Camilla arrived at York Minster on Thursday.

But they were outnumbered by the thousands who turned out to welcome the King and Queen Consort to the city and also outnumbered by the dozens of police officers lining the streets for the visit.

Graham Smith, chief executive of the Republic group, said the protest will be bigger at the coronation and vowed to make it “unmissable” during the day.

Protesters await the King's arrival in York
Protesters await the arrival of the King in York (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Mr Smith said: “We think there will be over a thousand people at the coronation itself.

“We’re not quite sure what we’re going to do, but we may have other groups along the route.

“But certainly there will be a big protest in the middle, on the procession route.

“And there will be a lot of this really, a lot of ‘not my king’ signs, we’ll make some noise. There will be a bit of a party atmosphere, trying to engage the people around us and keep it quite light-hearted.

“And we’ll make sure that when the procession passes we can’t get lost.”

Smith said: “We will protest at the coronation and beyond just to really challenge the idea of ​​a succession of head of state and say we want an election instead of a coronation, an election instead of a chance.”

He said he and his fellow protesters had a “mixed reaction” in York, admitting that most of those gathered outside the cathedral did not agree with them.

“Some of them get upset, but it’s a free country and we can all stand here and show our support or our opposition,” he said.


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