PBS on Cops Making Coronation Protester Arrests: More Like Moscow Than London

May 9th, 2023 11:33 AM

Saturday’s edition of PBS News Weekend led with a story on the coronation of King Charles in England, but the story was dominated by anti-monarchy protesters. This was not the BBC. Special correspondent Malcolm Brabant insisted "Charles isn`t as popular as his late mother the Queen. Several anti-monarchists were arrested before the main event got underway."

Brabant heavily featured anti-monarchy activist Graham Smith and his group Republic. Smith trashed the royal family: " They misuse public money all the time for private use, they misuse public office to advance their own interests. I think that if Charles were to stand in an election against other candidates in a free and fair election that he would lose and lose badly. And yet here he is, as a head of state."

When anti-monarchy protesters were arrested, Smith blamed King Charles himself, and then Brabant touted Human Rights Watch saying the protester arrests somehow turned King Charles into Putin: 

MALCOLM BRABANT: The police say some of those detained were held on suspicion of conspiracy to cause a disturbance, which was denied by Republic spokesman Harry Stratton.

HARRY STRATTON: It's a completely peaceful demonstration. The police without telling us why, without telling us where they’re taking them, have arrested all rally organizers. Britain is meant to be a democracy, but Charles isn’t treating it like one.

BRABANT: The arrests have been widely condemned by opposition parliamentarians, and Human Rights Watch, which said this was something you would expect in Moscow, not London. Absorbed by centuries-old tradition, guests inside Westminster Abbey were unaware of the disturbances and in the most mystical or most bizarre element of the ceremony, ornate screens were erected while he was anointed with holy oil, symbolizing his spiritual status as head of the Church of England….

Smith also appeared in a PBS NewsHour segment on Friday night before the coronation. Several Brits spoke up for the monarchy and for tradition, and Smith argued "The monarchy is wrong in principle, first and foremost." The monarchy is against democracy, even though Britain is a democracy. Others agreed: 

AMY BENNETT: To me, personally, I just think it's a bit laughable. I think they're so out of touch and so kind of beyond the commonality of people, that they think that is like something that we're just going to soak up and just going to do without questioning it….Like, it just seems stupid. But it shows how out of touch they are.

BRABANT: Out of touch or not, Saturday's pageantry will reinforce the appearance of a land of hope and glory, even if the monarchy is less revered under King Charles III.