THE head of England’s leading republican movement was among those arrested in London – in a crackdown described as "more Moscow than London".

Graham Smith, chief executive of the anti-monarchy group Republic, was apprehended by police in St Martin’s Lane, Westminster, in the morning ahead of the coronation.

Demonstrators in yellow “Not My King” T-shirts, including Smith, had their details taken by officers.

The group had been walking behind a rental van full of hundreds of placards when they were stopped by police.

In one video, when asked whether someone should be arrested for peaceful protest in a democracy, an officer says: “I’m not going to get into a conversation about that – they are under arrest, end of.”

The National:

Just Stop Oil said approximately 13 protesters were arrested on the Mall ahead of the coronation.

A spokesperson for the campaign group said five demonstrators were also arrested at Downing Street and one at Piccadilly.

Footage from the Mall showed the Just Stop Oil protesters being handcuffed and taken away by a heavy police presence.

On Wednesday, the Metropolitan Police had announced they would have an “extremely low threshold” for protests during the coronation celebrations, and that demonstrators could expect “swift action”.

Campaign group Our Republic, which staged a rally on Calton Hill, pointed out that Scottish demonstrations would not see similar action.

The group tweeted: “In case you were wondering how democracy was doing in this new modern monarchy. A reminder – the new authoritarian protest laws do not apply in Scotland. We have no concerns about similar happening at our rally.”

After the London arrests, Republic activist Luke Whiting, 26, said: “Six Republic members have been arrested including the chief executive as the demonstration was starting at the edge of Trafalgar Square. It is unclear why, 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.”

One woman in a Republic T-shirt who was arrested said: “We had a delivery of placards ready for the protest and then the tactical support unit questioned us as to how we had got through the road closures.They questioned whether what we were doing was a delivery.

“They then said they found evidence of means of locking on, of items that could be used to lock on, and they arrested us.”

Officers carried her away from where she had been standing outside a Tesco store.

Two men who appeared to have been part of the same demonstration were carried away by officers into a marked police van.

Condemning the arrests, the SNP’s Westminster leader Stephen Flynn said: “Deeply disturbing and clarity urgently required.

“The right to peaceful protest is non-negotiable, irrespective of whom you are protesting.”

SNP MP Joanna Cherry wrote: “This is not on. As the Human Rights Committee has repeatedly emphasised, the state has a positive obligation to facilitate the right to peaceful protest. I shall be taking this up in parliament.”

Her thoughts were echoed by fellow SNP MP Chris Law who described the scenes as an “utter disgrace”.

He added: “Arresting peaceful protesters will only backfire and will further the decline of support for the monarchy.”

MP Tommy Sheppard said it was “outrageous”. He told The National: “It seems England is now a country where the freedom to protest peacefully has ended.

“People here should pledge our solidarity with those arrested in London today.”

A video posted to Twitter yesterday also showed a City of London police officer who seemed to suggest that people could be arrested just for chanting “Not my King”.

When asked if people can chant “Not my King”, the officer said: “I wouldn’t advise it, no”.

He went on: “If it escalates, If the chanting gets louder and louder and it causes a public nuisance.”

Pressed again about what the officer meant by “escalates” and whether people would be arrested for chanting, the officer added: “Maybe, possibly.”

Human Rights Watch labelled the arrests “incredibly alarming”, adding: “This is something you would expect to see in Moscow, not London.”

Amnesty International’s chief executive Sacha Deshmukh also raised concerns after police were reportedly given instructions to apprehend people with megaphones.

Commander Karen Findlay, who led the policing operation, said: “We absolutely understand public concern following the arrests we made this morning. Protest is lawful and it can be disruptive.

“We also have a duty to intervene when protest becomes criminal and may cause serious disruption.”

Commander Findlay added: “This depends on the context. The coronation is a once-in-a-generation event and that is a key consideration in our assessment.

“A protest involving large numbers has gone ahead today with police knowledge and no intervention.”

Tory Party deputy chair Lee Anderson told those arrested to “emigrate”.

He tweeted: “Not My King? If you do not wish to live in a country that has a monarchy the solution is not to turn up with your silly boards. The solution is to emigrate.”

Charles was officially crowned at his coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey at midday as The Archbishop of Canterbury placed the St Edward’s Crown on his head.

The coronation service continued at Westminster Abbey until 1pm, at which point the newly crowned king returned to Buckingham Palace, arriving at 1.33pm.

The newly crowned King and Queen received a royal salute in the Palace gardens at 1.45pm before appearing on the balcony alongside members of the Royal Family for the flypast.

Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf was among the political leaders at the coronation.

The National:

Yousaf arrived at Westminster Abbey in a Slanj kilt in the Spirit of Glasgow tartan with an Asian fusion-style jacket and waistcoat designed by Glasgow-based Anjali Modha.

His wife Nadia El-Nakla wore a full-length kilt made from the same tartan, by Scottish designer Siobhan Mackenzie, and a hat by Glasgow milliner William Chambers, whose designs have been worn by the Duchess of Sussex.

Yousaf, Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain KC and permanent secretary John-Paul Marks represented the Scottish Government at the ceremony in London.

Yousaf, who has spoken previously about being in favour of a republic, said: “I will attend at the coronation ceremony as First Minister, on behalf of the Scottish people and many people across the country will also take part in the celebrations by watching the ceremony on big screens, hosting street parties or taking part in charity or volunteering.

“I look forward to participating in the ceremony when His Majesty is presented with the Honours of Scotland at a service at St Giles’ Cathedral later this year.

“I know many people in Scotland will want to send their best wishes to King Charles III and Queen Camilla on this historic occasion.”

The Right Rev Dr Iain Greenshields represented the Church of Scotland, presenting Charles with his first gift, and the Most Rev Mark Strange, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, presented the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Gun salutes at Edinburgh and Stirling castles marked the moment the King was crowned.

At Edinburgh Castle, a 21-round royal salute was fired a minute after midday as the King was crowned.

Members of 105 Regiment Royal Artillery fired the salute, with members of the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland (3 Scots) taking up position as castle guard musicians from Reserve Bands of The Royal Regiment of Scotland and adult instructors with the Army Cadet Force performed.

They played God Save The King after the gun salute.

The Royal Standard will fly over St Andrew’s House, the Scottish Government’s headquarters, throughout the coronation weekend.

The Scottish Parliament’s presiding officer Alison Johnstone, also attended, as did chief executive David McGill.

Johnstone said it was an “honour” to represent the parliament.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar and Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton also attended.