Yesterday evening, while Prince William and Kate Middleton (now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) were making last minute preparations for their royal wedding, two well-known anthropologists were arrested for helping to plan a "Zombie Wedding" in downtown London. Although the anti-monarchist protest was advertised as street theater, police were apparently not amused by the promised appearance of a working guillotine, and the benediction "May Royal Heads Roll!" They hauled the couple off to jail.
Anthropologists Chris Knight and Camilla Power, who live together in south London, were arrested at their home along with a third activist for conspiracy to cause a public nuisance and breach of the peace. The arrest was filmed by a film crew and later posted on YouTube. Scotland Yard confirmed that they were still in custody as of 1 p.m. E.D.T. today.
To go with the wedding, the pair had planned street theater that they called a "Right Royal Orgy," to begin in London's Soho Square, proceed to Piccadilly Circus, and end at Westminster Abbey just when William and Kate were to be married.
Power teaches anthropology at the University of East London, where Knight also worked until 2009, when he was fired by the university in connection with organizing a previous political protest. The pair are celebrated for their contributions to the study of the evolution of human culture and symbolism, and are a regular fixture at evolution of language meetings. They are also founders and leaders in the London-based Radical Anthropology Group, and are known for their sometimes provocative political actions.
As Knight's Web page, which has not been updated since the arrest, puts it: "I do science; I also do political street theatre. I hope you'll respect the science, but please don't take my theatrical pronouncements too seriously or literally. A sense of humor is presupposed!"