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European Court permits Britain to arrest royal wedding protesters

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The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Thursday threw out complaints by eight people who had been detained while trying to protest against a 2011 royal wedding in Britain.

British police had acted to prevent a breach of the peace, taking into account the crowds, the international interest and the severe threat level during the wedding, a three-judge committee ruled.

The decision appears to confirm a shift in the court’s stance on brief preventive detentions where no offence has been committed, in line with a judgment in 2018 approving the detention of three Danish football fans to prevent violence during a match.

The eight complainants in the British case had been “released as soon as the imminent risk had passed’’ and had only been held for “a matter of hours,’’ the court noted.

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Five of them had wanted to take part in a republican protest in London’s Trafalgar Square during the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and one had intended to join a republican street party.

The last two had intended to join a “zombie picnic’’ where, police alleged, participants dressed as zombies would attempt to throw maggots as confetti at the royal wedding procession.

The judges cited the ruling in the Danish case, where the court’s 17-member Grand Chamber said previous ECHR decisions on preventive detention had been inconsistent.

The Grand Chamber rejected previous judgments that had ruled short-term preventive detention was only permissible in the context of criminal proceedings.

Given that ruling, the complainants’ applications were “manifestly ill-founded’’ and British courts had “struck a fair balance’’ in rejecting their domestic complaints, the committee said. (dpa/NAN)

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