Police are now hassling anti-royals for holding up blank pieces of paper

Police are now hassling anti-royals for holding up blank pieces of paper
United Kingdom: Scots pay tribute to late Queen Elizabeth II

The Metropolitan Police are warning protesting anti-monarchists about breaching the peace, leading to debate online about the freedom to protest.

Following Queen Elizabeth II's death on Thursday, conversation surrounding the legitimacy of the Royal Family sparked online as anti-royalists called for the dissolution of monarchy.

"Not my King" and "Abolish the Monarchy" signs began popping up from protestors around the UK as King Charles III begins to prepare to ascend the throne.

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Police have arrested several protestors, drawing criticisms from people about freedom of speech.

Now it seems it's gone even further, with one man being hassled by police for having a single blank piece of paper.

"Just went to Parliament Square & held up a blank piece of paper. Officer came & asked for my details. He confirmed that if I wrote 'Not My King' on it, he would arrest me under the Public Order Act because someone might be offended," Paul Powlesland tweeted.

Powlesland attached a video of the encounter where the Met officer warned him writing "Not my King" may offend people.

"A period of quiet mourning for the Queen is fine, but using that period to cement Charles Accession as King & cracking down on any dissent to the accession as disrespectful is outrageous," Powlesland added.

Other people felt similarly, saying Powlesland and others had not violated any rules and should be allowed to express their opinion on the matter.

According to the Public Order Act of 1936, "Any person who in any public place or at any public meeting uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with intent to provoke a breach of the peace or whereby a breach of the peace is likely to be occasioned, shall be guilty of an offence."

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said they are aware of the video.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Cundy said, "the public absolutely have a right to protest and we have been making this clear to all officers involved in the extraordinary policing operation currently in place and we will continue to do so."

"However, the overwhelming majority of interactions between officers and the public at this time have been positive as people have come to the Capital to mourn the loss of Her Late Majesty the Queen," Cundy added.

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