Padraig Reidy, news editor at Britain's Index on Censorship, describes the royal family’s control of the coverage as “bizarre.” He adds that plans for preemptive arrests and restrictions on the right to protest were even more concerning, branding as “unprecedented” the police’s intended approach.
“The level of stage management with such an event might not be surprising, but certainly the police promise to use the Public Order Act on the day to deal with anyone who even slightly tries to interfere with the spectacle is rather worrying in our view,” he says.
Republican groups are incensed over suggestions by Metropolitan Police Commander Christine Jones that antiroyal placards in the vicinity of the ceremony would be removed on the day. Graham Smith, spokesman for Republic, a group that advocates a "democratic alternative to the monarchy," says, “Republicans have every right to make their voice heard on the day of the royal wedding, and the police have a fundamental duty to protect that right. The idea that political dissent should be silenced in order to protect the image of the royals goes against every democratic principle.”
In a recent interview with the BBC, Commander Jones said, “There are 364 other days of the year when people can come to London and demonstrate and frankly it’s not appropriate on the day of the royal wedding for people to come to London with that intent.”
Attack on freedom of speech?
Smith thinks those remarks are outrageous. “What Commander Jones appears to be saying is that the she has been co-opted into the royal family’s PR campaign. By doing so she’s not only compromising the neutrality of her officers, but also making a disgraceful attack on freedom of speech. We’re seeking urgent clarification so that republicans are reassured that their rights won’t be trampled on,” he said.