Queen in Edinburgh: Four arrests after protests in Edinburgh following death of Queen Elizabeth II
A woman and three men were arrested and have since been charged in connection with a breach of the peace during the events which saw thousands of people flock to the Capital.
The first arrests were made during the ceremony for the Proclamation of the new King Charles III and ahead of the arrival of Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin on Sunday (September 11).
A 22-year-old woman was arrested outside of St Giles’ Cathedral in connection with a breach of the peace. She was charged and released, and is due to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court at a later date, Police Scotland said.
And a 74-year-old man was arrested in the vicinity of the Palace of Holyroodhouse at around 3.50pm that afternoon in connection with a breach of the peace, police said.
He was later charged and was due to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Monday (September 12), police said.
The two further arrests were made on Monday (September 12) as the Queen’s coffin was taken from the Palace of Holyroodhouse to St Giles’ Cathedral via the Royal Mile.
Police said a 52-year-old man was arrested and charged in connection with a breach of the peace in Jeffrey Street at around 2.40pm. He is to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court at a later date, police said.
Then a 22-year-old man was arrested and charged in a connection with a breach of the peace on the Royal Mile at around 2.50pm, police said.
He was released with an undertaking to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court at a later date, with a report to be sent to the Procurator Fiscal.
Police Scotland would not confirm whether any further arrests were made, and a spokesperson said they would not give a “running commentary” on numbers.
Freedom of speech
It comes after concerns have been raised around freedom of speech and the right to protest the monarchy. A group of protesters gathered near St Giles' Cathedral on Tuesday (September 13) holding blank sheets of paper to defend people's right to protest.
While Conservative MP and former Brexit Minister David Davis wrote on Twitter: “At a time of national mourning, we should all ensure that we behave respectfully. But we must not sacrifice the principle of free speech upon which modern Britain is built.
"I am a staunch monarchist, but republicans have as much right to voice their opinions as anyone else.”
What is breach of the peace?
In Scottish law, Breach of the Peace is an offence where someone is accused of disorderly conduct likely to cause fear, alarm, or disturbance to others.
Breach of the Peace offences are often prosecuted under Section 38(1) of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010.
This is defined as someone who behaves in a threatening or abusive manner, whose behaviour would be “likely to cause a reasonable person to suffer fear or alarm” and intends by their behaviour to cause fear or alarm or is reckless as to whether this behaviour would cause fear or alarm.
The maximum penalty for this in Scottish Sheriff Courts is 12 months imprisonment, a fine of up to £5,000 – or both.