Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 73(3) August 2023

Editorial - The Coronation and the right of free speech

Dr Pravin Thevathasan

Author pictureFor many Catholics, the coronation proved to be a moving experience, reminding them of the great Catholic past of this country. For others, this was an opportunity for them to protest against the monarchy. I do not agree with them, but I defend their right to protest in public. They could have done so away from the coronation event. But they surely had a right to do so around the time and place of the event, so long as they did this peacefully and without directly interfering with the event itself.

The protestors protested peacefully and still got arrested. I worry that the police may have got the idea that a "buffer zone" means that people may only protest well away from the event.

The paediatric radiologist Dr Greg Irwin has condemned pro-life groups who peacefully protest outside hospitals (24 February, 2023, BBC News). The protestors do not in any way directly interfere with those who are seeking various hospital services. He wishes them to be elsewhere.

The coronation event reminds us that the right offree speech is now under threat