There has been a constant stream of headlines exploding across the tabloid press recently such as ‘Anarchists target Wills and Kate’, ‘Anarchists plotting to cause chaos at the Royal Wedding with smoke bombs and roadblocks’, ‘Royal Wedding: Anarchists Plan Sex Protest’ and ‘Anarchists plot to wreck Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding celebration’ which is accompanied by a posed photograph of an anonymous ‘anarchist organiser’, who is quoted throughout the article, in a gas mask kneeling in front of an assortment of equipment and weaponry to be used to disrupt the wedding. The two common features of all these articles are the word ‘anarchist’ and the name Chris Knight.
Knight, who is not an anarchist but an eccentric and outspoken academic, has been feeding the press these stories; making media pronouncements about what ‘we’ are going to do on April 29th. Given that no legitimate anarchist group has offered any information concerning their activities for the royal wedding we have to ask whose agenda is being followed and to what end?
Freedom has reliable information as to the identity of the people involved in the posed photograph – the person in the gas mask and the person who took the photo. Neither of them are anarchists, and the photographer has links with the English Defence League, although he denies any active involvement, as well as Chris Knight. We do not know how much they were paid for their story. What is clear is that Knight along with the other provocateurs are in the business of making claims to the press (as he did during the G20 protests in 2009 – see P4 of this issue) about anarchists which are picked up by the police as ‘legitimate intelligence’.
This intelligence is then used to target genuine known anarchists. At the Home Affairs Committee hearing on policing, Assistant Commissioner with the Metropolitan Police Service Lynne Owens said of the royal wedding “It is a security event, which will give us different powers under terrorism and other legislation, and we now have a much broader intelligence picture about the sort of protest activity that we can expect” and went to hint at the suspension of certain legal rights adding “the application of the Human Rights Act, might be different for the royal wedding”. We have all been warned.