Royal fan arrested and put in cell for 13 hours for standing near protesters
A royal superfan who attended the coronation was arrested and detained by police for 13 hours just for standing near a group of Just Stop Oil protesters.
Alice Chambers, from Australia but currently living in London, travelled to The Mall on Saturday in the hope of catching a glimpse of Charles on the day he was officially crowned King.
The 36-year-old architect said she had no idea she happened to be sitting beside the eco-activist group, as they had not yet started protesting.
But at around 9am, Ms Chambers was told she was being arrested along with around a dozen other people on suspicion of ‘potential to cause a breach of the peace,’ in scenes which were captured by Sky News.
‘I was just sitting on my little stool and I noticed there was some yelling and then some police swooped in and were pushing the crowd back,’ she told inews.
‘I must have been right on the edge of that, I went to get up and two police officers just grabbed me and handcuffed me. I don’t think they said anything, I think they arrested me before they asked a question.
‘I feel like once I was in the system they didn’t listen, I tried to explain that I wasn’t part of the group.’
Once detained she was interrogated and searched by officers, locked in a cell and had her mugshot, fingerprints and DNA taken in a harrowing 13-hour ordeal.
It wasn’t until she was interviewed by two senior officers at 7pm that police finally realised they had made a mistake and that she was an innocent bystander.
She was finally released from Wandsworth police station at around 10pm after breaking down in tears.
‘They looked at each other and then they asked “have you ever heard of Just Stop Oil?” I said, “Up until today no.” They said we have no further questions and we’re really sorry you’ve been caught up in this.
Ms Chambers, who has made a complaint to the force and the police watchdog, added: ‘I understand why the police were on the edge, they did have a tough job that day.
‘But they need to have better processes and better training in place because innocent people shouldn’t be getting locked up for that long.’
Her arrest comes as the Met has faced a barrage of criticism over arrests made during the coronation, which saw 64 people detained using new anti-protest laws which were rushed through parliament in the lead-up to the event.
On Monday, the police were forced into a humiliating climbdown over the arrest of six anti-monarchy protesters after they admitted they found no evidence they were planning to disrupt the event.
A number of women’s safety volunteers were also arrested for carrying rape alarms on the day of the coronation, which police falsely claimed they planned to throw at horses involved in the procession.
Graham Smith, leader of the anti-monarchy group Republic, was also arrested by police and detained for 16 hours.
Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley later defended his officers’ actions, claiming police had received intelligence that protesters were intending to throw paint at the procession and vandalise monuments.
A spokesperson for the Met Police said: “We are aware that a woman was arrested in relation to a protest on 6 May 2023.
‘The arresting officer was from Lincolnshire Police and the complaint has therefore been passed to the relevant force to investigate. The Met will assist by providing any relevant information they require.’
Chief Inspector Simon Outen from the Professional Standards Department at Lincolnshire Police, said: ‘Our officers were in central London providing mutual aid support to colleagues in the Met on Saturday 6 May, and during that time, a woman in her 30s was arrested in connection with a Just Stop Oil protest.
‘She was subsequently released with no further action.
‘We have now received a complaint and we are reviewing the incident, and we are in contact with the complainant to establish the full details of her allegations.’
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