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.

April 29, 2011

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

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