Today the European Court of Human Rights has made a decision on the case the Metropolitan Police’s pre-emptive arrests on the day of the 2011 Royal Wedding. You can download a PDF from the ECtHR website here. The day after my arrest I wrote a detailed account of my experience.
The case is now known as Eiseman-Renyard and others Vs the United Kingdom. I’m disappointed, angry and scared that this case law seems to endorse further abuses of police power. It’s also upsetting that this decision is literally in my name.
Daniel Randall, who was arrested with nine others on their way to a republican street party said:
“Today’s judgement has worrying implications for freedom of speech, freedom of association, and the right to protest. By effectively ruling that police are within their rights to preemptively arrest people, without any evidence of their intent to commit a crime nor any intention to bring charges against them, but merely to keep them off the streets, this judgement will give further license to political policing that seeks to undermine and prevent legitimate protest.”
For my own part:
On the day of the 2011 Royal Wedding I went to report on a zombie street party event as a citizen journalist. I was queueing in a Starbucks with four others in fancy dress when we were detained, arrested and held in police cells for a ‘breach of the peace’ the police claimed we may commit.
The police’s actions on the day were a surreal abuse of power, and part of a much wider crack-down on the right to protest. We have been fighting this case for eight years, through four different courts, because premptive arrest is a deeply troubling concept for civil liberties.
I’m heartsick that the European Court of Human Rights has essentially condoned the Met’s actions. In 2011 the arrests were both unjust and unlawful. Today they remain unjust.
I’d like to thank our lawyers at Bhatt Murphy for eight years of hard work, passion and expertise in seeing this through, and thanks to the Legal Defence and Monitoring Group for putting arrestees in touch with pro bono lawyers so we could seek justice.