On May 5th last year, the coronation of King Charles, anti-monarchy campaigners were arrested under dubious circumstances despite having formally arranged with Metropolitan Police an agreed protest along the route. Charges were later dropped, and a substantial compensation payment is being negotiated.

One year on, organisers from Republic staged their first Republic Day rally in Trafalgar Square. It’s planned to be an annual event bringing together the ever-growing number of republicans calling for an elected head of state instead of a hereditary, expensive and privileged monarchy.

Several hundred people attended the event during the afternoon, and huge banners adorned the walls of the square with the slogans ‘Abolish The Monarchy’ and ‘Change The Country For Good’.

Speakers included poet/musician Femi Nylander, ex-MP and author/musician Norman Baker, writer/actress Kelechi Okafor, and Republic founder Graham Smith. Activist Peter Tatchell spoke alongside Floris Muller, who is the leader of the Dutch anti-monarchist group, Republiek.

There were also cultural contributions from poet Martin Hayes (Culture Matters), and a video of Yasmin Alibhai-Brown reading Benjamin Zephaniah’s poem ‘Tea With The Queen’.

Later than originally planned, a 15 foot-high puppet made its appearance and circled round the square – a huge dinosaur called ‘CHUCK THE REX’.

Over the past year, Republic have staged protests at Royal venues and events, and they vow to continue and grow the movement calling for a referendum on the future of the monarchy, with its abolition to be replaced by an elected head of state. Polls are moving in their direction, with support for Charles dropping, especially among younger people.

More info and get involved at Republic.