British protesters who dressed up as zombies during the marriage of Kate Middleton and Prince William, and were arrested by police in case they committed a crime, have been told by the European Court of Human Rights that there had been no breach of their right to liberty.
BBC News reports that nine demonstrators were detained after participating in a tongue-in-cheek “zombie wedding” in Soho when Kate and Wills were getting married in a ceremony at Westminster Abbey two miles away.
The event, staged in 2011, was designed to highlight cuts to public services, which members of the LGBT community were concerned about.
The organizers behind the protest urged participants to attend in fancy dress, for a “fun, theatrical” event which underscored a serious point.
However, police argue that one leaflet concerning the event indicated the throwing of “maggot confetti.”
Not willing to take any chances on what was the biggest day in years for the British royal family and its hordes of flag-waving fans, the police decided to get proactive and make a series of arrests without any actual crime being committed.
The lead claimant in the case, Hannah Eiseman-Renyard, claimed she was attending the event in a journalistic role when the police arrested her in a Starbucks outlet.
She and eight others were not accused or charged with any offense, but they were still detained until the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge shared their famous kiss on the Buckingham Palace balcony.
Eiseman-Renyard claims there’s no evidence that any of the participants possessed maggots and the reference to them in the leaflet had obviously been a joke.
“I went out to report on a flash mob with lip stain dripping down my chin but ended up with handcuff marks on my wrists,” she recalled.
In the aftermath of eight long years of legal hearings, the protesters took their case to the European Court of Human Rights. However, the court ruled that the preemptive arrests were not a breach of their right to liberty.
The court’s ruling has far-reaching consequences because it entails that even if police have no specific intelligence linking an individual to a crime, they can still detain people.
“This is not the outcome we hoped for after eight years of a really long fight. In 2011, the arrests were both unjust and unlawful. Today they remain unjust. The outcome of this case has very worrying implications for civil liberties,” Eiseman-Renyard said.