Three arrested for defying court ban on republican symbols near royal motorcade

Madrid court had prohibited anti-monarchy displays in vicinity of coronation ceremony

A pro-republic demonstration in Tirso de Molina square in Madrid.
A pro-republic demonstration in Tirso de Molina square in Madrid.F. J. B.

Three people were arrested in Madrid on Thursday morning after defying a court ban on displaying republican symbols, police sources said.

The temporary prohibition was enforced throughout the duration of the coronation ceremony for Felipe VI, Spain’s new king, which ended shortly before 1pm. Authorities attributed the decision to security concerns.

One of the three arrested was stopped on the corner of Gran Vía and Salud street as he attempted to run in front of the royal motorcade wearing a t-shirt featuring the colors of the republican flag (last officially used during the Second Republic, between 1931 and 1939).

Two other women were detained on nearby Montera street after trying to reach Plaza de Oriente, the final destination of the royal car.

Meanwhile, around 400 people converged on Tirso de Molina square for a peaceful protest against the monarchy. Police chose not to break up the demonstration as it was far removed from the motorcade’s route.

The ban was based on the “real” and “certain” risk of public unrest during the coronation ceremony

The Madrid regional High Court did ban a larger republican protest due to be held at noon on Thursday, based on the “real” and “certain” risk of public unrest during the proclamation of the new king. This consideration superseded the rights to freedom of assembly and expression, according to the court.

The fact that a sector of Spanish society remains unsupportive of the monarchy had been reflected earlier in Congress, where the Catalan and Basque premiers maintained a cold attitude throughout Felipe VI’s address following his swearing-in as Spain’s new king.

Despite Felipe VI’s reiterated references to the plurality of the Spanish nation and his farewell delivered in the Spanish, Catalan, Basque and Galician languages, Catalonia’s Artur Mas and the Basque Country’s Iñigo Urkullu barely applauded.

Meanwhile, deputies for the CiU Catalan nationalist bloc and the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) did not take part in the standing ovations for the new monarch and former king and queen.

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