Protesters warned not to ruin Coronation celebrations

Protesters plotting to disrupt the King’s Coronation were on Wednesday night warned not to ruin the historic day for everybody else.

Security Minister Tom Tugendhat warned eco-zealots and anti-Royalists will have had months to prepare their plans.

He said the policing operation was “one of the most important” in the UK’s history, with more foreign leaders set to attend the King’s crowning than the Queen’s funeral last September.

Mr Tugendhat said on Wednesday: “I would say to anybody who is thinking of doing anything like that, think of your fellow citizens, think of your friends, your family and your neighbours, think of what this is about for many, many people.

“The police are, to put it mildly, all over it and our intelligence and other security forces are extremely aware of the challenges we face and ready to deal with them.”

Mr Tugendhat said people have the ­“liberty” to protest but not to disrupt others. He added: “What we have been planning for a number of months is one of the most important security operations the country has put into plan.

“This Coronation is not just an opportunity to celebrate our new King but also an opportunity to showcase the UK to the world. This is a very complex operation.”

Police and the intelligence services are on red alert to prevent terror attacks and disruption, with more than 11,500 officers deployed to ensure a “spectacular celebration”.

Armed police, sniffer dogs, mounted units and marine officers on the River Thames are among the specialist teams being deployed.

Airspace over London will be restricted to avoid a threat from drones and huge bollards will be in place to prevent vehicle attacks.

Around 100 heads of states are expected to be among the 2,200 guests at Westminster Abbey.

But there are fears protesters could try to disrupt proceedings on Saturday, with one anti-Royalist group warning that 1,700 people could descend on the capital.

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Other groups such as Just Stop Oil, or even those opposing world leaders about issues abroad, could also try to cause havoc when all eyes will be on London. Specialist officers have already been deployed to train stations to detect suspicious activity and behaviour specialists will watch crowds in the hours leading up to the ceremony.

Armed police will be stationed across central London and undercover officers will move among crowds.

Scotland Yard warned protesters to expect “very swift action” from police who will have “an extremely low threshold” to intervene.

Chiefs confirmed holding a placard up during the procession does not constitute “serious disruption”.

But if the holding of a sign were to cause a disturbance in the crowd, it could lead to police intervening.

A “ring of steel” is being formed around the Abbey, with roads closed off to counter threats.

It comes as Buckingham Palace was ordered into lockdown on Tuesday night after a man threw shotgun cartridges into the grounds.

Police revealed that the suspect had walked up to a police officer asking to speak to a soldier.

Deputy assistant commissioner Ade Adelekan said: “We’ve debriefed our plans after that
incident just to make sure there are no gaps and we’re absolutely confident we’ve got a plan that will deliver the Coronation in such a manner that everyone will come to London and celebrate and there will be no issues whatsoever.

“Our priority is around safety and security for everyone.”

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