Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

WEB NEWS

Israel and Hamas battle online over public opinion

Read more

FOCUS

Can Chancellor Merkel's winning streak last?

Read more

FOCUS

Hunger in a fertile land...

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria: One Hundred Days and Counting (part 2)

Read more

  • Air Algerie ‘lost contact’ with flight leaving Burkina Faso

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death arrives in Italy

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

  • In pictures: Thousands march for Gaza peace in Paris

    Read more

  • Can Jew-kissing-Arab selfie give peace a viral chance?

    Read more

  • France charges Swiss bank UBS with tax fraud

    Read more

  • Israel faces heightened diplomatic pressure as Gaza violence rages

    Read more

  • Botched Arizona execution takes nearly two hours

    Read more

  • Bomb attacks leave scores dead in north Nigeria

    Read more

  • Netherlands holds day of mourning for victims of flight MH17

    Read more

  • Two Ukrainian fighter jets shot down over rebel-held territory

    Read more

  • Ryanair ordered to pay back €9.6m in illegal state aid to France

    Read more

Europe

Republicans throw 'Not the royal wedding' party

Text by Katherine THOMPSON

Latest update : 2011-04-30

Think the UK is all royal wedding mad? Think again. The Republic movement, which campaigns for an end to the monarchy, has established an anti-royal wedding zone in the heart of central London.

While the rest of the UK appears on the face of it to have collectively caught royal wedding fever, there is a corner of central London that is most certainly immune.

Close to Covent Garden, the Republic movement, a pressure group which campaigns for an end to the monarchy, is holding a 'Not the royal wedding' street party. With 20% of the UK reportedly republican, this group campaigns for those whose voices are not being currently heard.

Graham Smith, the group's campaign manager and Executive Director, told FRANCE 24 that it is a traditional British royal street party, but with a twist. Instead of celebrating pageantry and royalty, the street party will celebrate democracy and an end to inherited privilege.

The fact that the street party is being held at all is a surprise. It was originally meant to take place not far from the main royal wedding route, but was banned from doing so by a local government body that feared it would be overrun by anarchists. Smith believes that lobbying on the part of a powerful local landlord was partly behind the ban.

Taking a sneaky peak at the wedding?

The move to ban Republic's celebrations was, it could be argued, a PR gift since the issue promptly became front page news across the UK.

Despite this upset, the event went ahead Friday, but further away from the royal madness at Westminster.

Early Friday morning, in a garden square a short stroll from Holborn tube station, Republics' members busily set up stalls and strung up bunting.

As has happened at numerous events for this royal wedding, journalists outnumbered attendees in the morning, with the TV crews pulling rank and trying to elbow the mere print and web journalists out of the way for the best shots.

Smith admitted to being nervous about the lack of crowds and ruefully said that he thought people were “probably taking a sneaky peak at the wedding on TV before heading down.”

As the morning progressed, the crowds started to arrive and, in another running theme from this wedding, seemed to be delighted by all the media attention they were getting as banks of journalists jostled for position around those who had chosen to dress up.

Fun day out, but with a serious message

The Republic party was not all 'bah-humbug' and serious. Bunting hung cheerfully from the stalls that had been set up, a jazz band played to entertain the crowds, stocks and other games had been laid on, and there was a general party atmosphere.

Underlying the fun, however, was a serious message which everyone was keen to get across.

Smith believes that there will be a “royal wedding hangover” next week as the country starts to count the cost of putting on such a spectacle. “People don't believe in democracy any more, but if we completely reformed the system they would again,” argued Smith. He also, somewhat jokingly, said that he would rather “David Beckham was the president” than the Queen.

The points made by Smith were echoed by many at the event. Kaye Boyce, who sported an ironic “Thanks for the day off” t-shirt in a nod to the national holiday Friday, said that the royal family is “anachronistic”. “No one really cares about the royal family”, she assured.

Joyce Bradley, who has been a member of Republic for two years and was manning a stall, said, “Intrinsically it is wrong to have a democratic country with an inherited monarchy.”

The republican conviction behind the party was clear for all to see, but whether the movement's views will catch on is another matter. The points they make are logical, clear and well argued. But if you look at this purely as a PR war, I would say Royal Family 1 – Republic 0.

Date created : 2011-04-29

  • ROYAL WEDDING

    What do Londoners make of the royal wedding?

    Read more

  • ROYAL WEDDING

    London welcomes masses with royal wedding campsite

    Read more

  • ROYAL WEDDING

    Royal party-poopers flee Britain to avoid wedding fever

    Read more

COMMENT(S)