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Police accused of using human rights to block the Trooping the Color protest

The Metropolitan Police have been accused of trying to use human rights laws to block anti-monarchy protests at this weekend’s Trooping the Color event.

The anti-monarchist group Republika said police had written to them, citing the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) as justification for closing down a nearby protest.

The Republic claimed this was based on the “false grounds” that the protest had deprived spectators of the right to enjoy the parade, adding that human rights legislation “does not provide for the right to have a day off.”

The pressure group said no final decision had been made, but accused police of insisting the protest be “moved to a location out of reach of the parade and the media.”

On Saturday, the king will make a public appearance to mark the monarch’s official birthday at Trooping the Color, which takes place on Horse Guards Parade near Buckingham Palace in central London.

Republic, which advocates abolishing the monarchy and replacing it with a directly elected head of state, said the police move was “Kafkaesque”.

The group claimed it had been told by the Metropolitan Police earlier this month that the force was “relaxed” and had “no reservations” about the protest location.

The Met faced criticism last year after six members of the Republic were detained ahead of an agreed coronation protest scheduled for May 6.

Republic chief executive Graham Smith accused police of “wanting to enforce the wishes of Royal Parks”, which he claimed “wants to ban all protests outside Buckingham Palace”.

He added that this would be a “serious insult to democratic rights in this country.”

Pledging to challenge the police and Royal Parks, Smith said: “Human rights law protects the right to meaningful protest. It is very disturbing that the same laws are used to effectively ban protests.

“The police want us to protest away from Buckingham Palace and the parade, where we cannot be seen or heard. This is based on the false assumption that protesting would deprive spectators of their right to enjoy the parade.

“The Human Rights Act and the ECHR do not provide for a right to take a day off and the experience of all our protests has been that we have successfully protested alongside spectators without incident.

“The argument that a protest infringes on the rights of others to enjoy the event is particularly dangerous because it opens the possibility of banning any number of political protests on the most false grounds.”

Smith added that he was calling on all parties fighting in the election to “ensure that meaningful peaceful protests are protected.”

The Metropolitan Police has been contacted for comment.