On the day of the royal wedding (29th April 2011) and on the day before, the police arrested dozens of people pre-emptively. People who had not committed any crimes were arrested, often handcuffed, and detained in police cells.
As William Windsor and Kate Middleton got married, people across London were arrested from various locations by various police units in an apparently coordinated attempt to prevent them from protesting – a legal activity which police have a duty to facilitate. They were arrested ‘to prevent a breach of the peace’.
Those arrested were not a cohesive group and did not have cohesive aims. Not all those arrested were protesting anything. Some were republicans, some were protesting the cuts, some were in fancy dress, one man was arrested as he walked down the street for being ‘a known activist’, some were arrested simply for filming others’ arrests.
The arrests the day before the royal wedding were more targeted – aimed at people who were planning to do street theatre. They were arrested from their homes, mostly charged with ‘conspiracy to commit a public nuisance’. These people were generally held in police custody for much longer and denied their right to a lawyer or a phonecall.
The police’s actions have been dubbed ‘precrime’ in many circles, and the apparent policy of pre-emptive arrest contravenes the human rights of those arrested. The policing experienced on that bank holiday weekend seems to indicate that the smooth running of pageantry for the William Windsor & Kate Middleton’s wedding was deemed more important than the human rights of other UK citizens.
Those arrested on the day included:
The Charing Cross 10 – ten people who were on their way to the republican street party who were detained and arrested outside Charing Cross station
The Starbucks Zombies – five people who had gone to Soho Square for a zombie flashmob and then left the area when the mood seemed to turn – they were in a branch of Starbucks when they were detained
The Frith Street Two – two transgender people who were were looking for the zombie flashmob were arrested and sexually assaulted by police officers
As well as various others.
Many of those arrested have chosen to challenge the legality of their arrests. They have been granted permission for a Judicial Review which will take place on the 28th May – 1st of June 2012.
Those involved hope to prove that there was (as the evidence seems to indicate) an over-arching policy of pre-emptive arrest that day. It is hoped that the Judicial Review will clarify that the Met’s policing of the royal wedding was illegal and that similar actions cannot be repeated.
It is especially concerning as it is believed in some circles that the royal wedding was used as a ‘dry-run’ for the policing tactics which will be used during the olympics and the jubilee. For this reason this website aims to raise awareness of what happened, and hold the police to account so it cannot happen again.