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Anti-monarchy group Republic flooded with hundreds of donations after arrests

The anti-monarchy pressure group Republic raised £10,000 in donations within just hours after its CEO and several campaigners were arrested ahead of the coronation.

The group, set up in 1983 to campaign for an elected head of state, has been thrust into the spotlight after six people including CEO Graham Smith were detained while preparing for a Not My King protest near Trafalgar Square.

Mr Smith had been collecting drinks and placards for demonstrators when he was detained at around 7am on Saturday morning – despite extensive and weeks-long discussions with the police relating to the protest.

The Metropolitan Police – which said on Wednesday it would have an “extremely low threshold” for action against protesters during the coronation – confirmed a number of people had been held on suspicion of conspiracy to cause public nuisance and suspicion of breaching the peace.

Republic put out a call for donations via Crowdfunder to support its campaign work after the arrests – and publicly-visible data from the platform collated by i suggests it had raked in more than £10,000 from hundreds of donors by Saturday afternoon.

It is likely the group have raised further funds via direct donations and memberships.

“Solidarity with those arrested this morning trying to exercise their right to peaceful protest,” said one new donor.

As well as lobbying politicians, the group said it hopes to pursue a “Not My King” digital advertising campaign and protest activities across the country.

Republic activist Luke Whiting, 26, said: “It is unclear why (they were arrested), potentially it is because one of them was carrying a megaphone.

“It is unclear exactly whether the police are using these new powers and whether they are misusing them to stop protest happening.”

Republic campaigners also suggested police may have “misconstrued” straps holding bundles of placards together as potential “lock-on” devices. Items used to attach people to street furniture are subject to harsh new criminal penalties under the newly-enacted Public Order Act in a bid to combat Just Stop Oil protests shutting down roads.

Republic member Nick Wall told a Not My King rally in Cardiff: “A number of our activist leaders have been arrested today and it’s actually an absolute disgrace.

“I felt compelled to say a few words because one of Republic’s co-ordinators, his name is Ben and he’s only 21 years of age, and he’s been arrested. It’s appalling.”

“The right to protest is a long tradition. It is a privilege. It is a deeply held tradition in this country.

“And it is absolutely disgraceful that organisation like Republic that have worked for the police for over six months to arrange the protest details get treated like this.

“The Tory legislation on protest has been rammed through the Parliament just so it can be used to do to stifle any opposition.”

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