Two things to consider: Protest is criminalized and it was done so with “Minority Report”-style pre-crime maneuvers.
Charlie Veitch was none too subtle. After the London TUC protests on March 26th, Veitch and his group the Love Police announced that they would launch “Disruption Spectacular” at Prince William’s Wedding.
It should be known that Veitch and the Love Police are non-violent protesters, many of them (including Veitch) being anarchists, and the “Disruption Spectacular” rhetoric was delivered in the spirit of the Diggers or Abbie Hoffman and the Yippies, and was not made in the same vein as violent protests in North Africa and the Middle East.
Veitch became an anti-Royalist and anarchist after being made redundant at his banking job, which forced him to reassess both his life, as well as the political and economic circumstances of both London and the world-at-large. Thus, when the Love Police announced their intention to spectacularly protest Prince William’s wedding, it was a symbolic action to demonstrate against royal opulence in the face of forced austerity which triggered the TUC protests.
In an attempt to prevent Veitch and the Love Police from protesting, London Police came to his flat and placed him under arrest for “suspicion of conspiracy to cause a public nuisance,” as well as “suspicion of aggravated trespass at Fortnum & Mason.”
Veitch’s girlfriend managed to tape the entire exchange with the arresting officers, in which Veitch asks, “is it okay if I bring a novel?” The officer demurs and says, “Um… I don’t think so, no. We have reading material at the station.” Veitch, in a humorous reposte, says, “Yeah, I’ll bring a couple of books.”
If you’re going to be jailed, why not entertain yourself with some fiction. To quote the arresting officer, “Lovely.”
If this can happen in London, it can happen anywhere, including America. And as humorous as some of Veitch’s comments and actions are in the arrest video, remember that his right to free speech was violated to silence his political views, always expressed through street theater and never violent.
And, honestly, I almost feel bad for the primary arresting officer. He seems polite enough and a good listener. One can even sense the vague recognition that he is arresting one of his own, and doing it on behalf of the powerful and elite (and on behalf of a royal family that doesn’t give the slightest fuck about his own existence).
Another bit of humor—Veitch can be heard brushing his teeth, then comes out and starts talking with a mouthful of toothpaste. In addressing the arresting officer statement about the trespassing at Fortnum & Mason’s, Veitch says, “They got nothing on me. The police asked us to leave Fortnum & Mason’s. We left. They got nothing on me.”
Imagine how the world could be if the working class police didn’t do the bidding of the politically powerful and rich.