UK activist nabbed for ‘thinking to protest’
British police have arrested activist Charlie Veitch from his home in Cambridge on suspicion of ‘conspiracy to cause a public nuisance’ at the royal wedding.
The activist was arrested Thursday in a pre-wedding raid, despite the fact that he had recently gone to police, on his own accord, to discuss how he is entirely non-aggressive and has no plans for disrupting the royal wedding.
The activist’s detention puts a big question mark before the claims that the UK is an advocate of democracy, freedom of expression and human rights.
Police arrested activist Charlie Veitch on charges of possibly conspiring to create a public nuisance. By nuisance, they mean speaking freely in a public space, which is what all human beings have the right to do.
The UK, if it was a democracy, has lost its credibility to be a democratic state. There have never taken place so many democratic activists’ arrests, anywhere in the world, not only on suspicion of thought-crime, speech-crime, or political assembly crime, but now on offences defined by the British police as pre-crime.
Veitch, who lives off Midsummer Common in Cambridge, had set up a group called the Love Police.
Silkie Carlo, 21, a second year student at Cambridge University studying politics and psychology, said Veitch, her boyfriend, was arrested Thursday at 5pm.
She said the allegation is ‘conspiracy to cause public nuisance’ on Friday.
“He was arrested as part of a political victimization campaign”, she added.
“What he does is he is a filmmaker who uses a megaphone. He’s quite known for being harmless, peaceful and vocal”, said Silkie Carlo.
“One of the things we specialize in is hugging police. It is fun to film. They are friends rather than enemies so this is quite unprecedented”, added the activist’s partner.
“This is a free speech crime but worse than that, it’s a free speech pre-crime.”
“The royal wedding itself is a public nuisance. I don’t consider a democratic protest to be a public nuisance”, said Carlo.
She said 20 to 30 people gathered outside Parkside police station between 9.30pm and midnight yesterday adding there would be a similar protest today at 3pm.
Terri Oaks, who lives in Cambridge and attended the demonstration outside Parkside on Thursday night, said: “Cambridge residents are appalled that the government has so little respect for the right to protest, that they are arresting people across the country for even thinking about protesting at the royal wedding.
“The public is footing the £20 million bill for the wedding, but we are being denied the right to voice our opinions, just as the government has been suppressing our right to protest against the welfare cuts which are hitting the poorest the hardest”, added Oaks.