Anthropologists arrested over ‘mock execution’ plans

Two academics said to have been planning an anti-monarchy mock execution at Westminster Abbey were arrested ahead of the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton in London.

Chris Knight, 68, a former professor of anthropology at the University of East London, was arrested outside his home in southeast London at around 6.15pm on 28 April.

Dr Knight’s partner, Camilla Power, 60, a senior lecturer in anthropology at UEL, was also arrested, as was a man named by The Telegraph as 45-year-old Patrick Macroidan.

Police said the three were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to cause public nuisance and breach of the peace.

Video footage of the arrests shows Dr Knight, a member of the anti-monarchy group Government of the Dead, lying down on the pavement in an attempt to stop officers moving him into a police van.

He tells officers that it will be “the most ashamed, most absurd arrest ever”, adding: “You’re arresting a professor of anthropology that runs a street theatre group”.

A man wearing a medieval executioner’s outfit tells officers: “You’re having a laugh. I’ve met some muppets in my time…I’m wearing a costume, a fancy-dress costume.”

The three were held at a south London police station overnight.

Dr Knight was sacked by UEL in 2009, following claims that he incited violence at the G20 protests.

In an online posting, the Government of the Dead group says the “Zombie Wedding” event was scheduled to begin with a wedding breakfast at 9.30am on 29 April in Soho Square, central London, before moving on for a “Zombie Fertility Rite” at the Eros statue in Piccadilly Square, and then on to Westminster Abbey where it says “heads will roll”.

The posting says: “We’ll have a spanking new working guillotine, which shall be surrounded by all manner of rumpy pumpy on the duvet day of all duvet days, by order of the Government of the Dead. We’re also delighted to hear that the Hells’ Grannies will appear as tricoteuses.”

It adds: “(PS Govt of the DEAD disclaimer: this is a totally non-terrorist event and bears absolutely no resemblance to the Jacobin Terror of 1793-94).”

In the footage of the arrests, the person operating the camera – a supporter of Mr Knight – makes repeated requests for him to be allowed to hand over his house keys.

The cameraman asks Dr Knight: “Can I get your house keys so I can feed the rabbit?”

john.morgan@tsleducation.com

Readers' comments (4)

  • The planned theatrical performances, scheduled to take place in Soho Square and NOT near Westminster Abbey, were in no way designed to disrupt anyone else from enjoying the events surrounding the wedding. What is signficant here is not the underlying views espoused by these individuals, but rather, their right to express them peacefully and openly through acts of art without fear of prosecution on entirely spurious grounds, simply because some people (read: monarchists, capitalists and their defenders) might not like them. Like the attempts to silence my right to expose the wrongdoing of public officials via an unfounded and ultimately unsuccessful criminal prosecution, this is yet another example of the continuing erosion of basic human rights in Britain. While condemning the actions of other nations around the world, Britain so frequently fails to look at its own breaches of human rights, and pretends that everything is "fair" and "above board." The time for abandoning this pretense is NOW! If you are tired of seeing your rights eroded, please consider joining the Facebook group, "Support Political and Artistic Freedom in Britain" at: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_221791551167617&ap=1

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  • The situation is even more dire than that highlighted by this article. Apparently 52 people were arrested preemptively in London for similar "offences." A number of people attending the same event that Chris Knight was planning to attend were arrested while dressed in zombie makeup for simply stopping for a cup of coffee at Starbucks. We're talking about a systematic effort by the police to eradicate all signs of public dissent during the time when then world's spotlight is shining upon Britain, much as the Chinese did with the Tiananmen Square massacre (albeit with less violence). http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/apr/29/royal-wedding-police-criticised-protesters

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  • And Times Higher Education is leading the charge against free speech by removing my posts calling for support of the right to free speech and inviting those who wish to defend the right of people to express their views through acts of art. But I shall continue to post nonetheless until THE editors give up. Meanwhile, I invite those wishing to express their support for the pensioner "criminals" to join the Facebook group, "Support Political and Artistic Freedom in Britain" at: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?

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  • http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3380637/Anarchists-target-Prince-William-and-Kate-Middleton-royal-wedding.html

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