LONDON: Police, politicians and activists in Britain are warning of rising anti-Muslim sentiment following the slaughter of an off-duty British soldier in a London street.
Metropolitan Police investigating the killing of Lee Rigby, a 25-year-old soldier who was run over by attackers then butchered by knives, arrested three more men in the murder investigation Saturday. Stun guns were used on two of the three men, aged 24 and 28, police said.
The latest arrests came as an estimated 1,500 members of an extremist right-wing group called the English Defense League marched in the northern English city of Newcastle, chanting Rigby’s name. In the southern English city of Portsmouth, police arrested two men for a racially motivated assault as hundreds of demonstrators gathered near one mosque, while several more people were detained for alleged racist offenses elsewhere.
The two men suspected of killing the soldier, Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, remained under armed guard in separate London hospitals after police shot them at the scene. Police have not officially named the suspects because they have not been charged, but British officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the investigation, have confirmed their names to The Associated Press.
Counter-terrorism police also are questioning a friend of Adebolajo who was arrested Friday night immediately after he gave BBC Television an interview detailing why he thought Adebolajo may have become radicalized.
About 350 counter-demonstrators who called themselves Newcastle Unites shouted abuse at the marchers, including ”Nazi scum off our streets!” The region’s Northumbria Police said riot police prevented any direct clashes between the opposed groups.
Meanwhile, the far-right British National Party announced it would rally supporters next weekend on the spot where the young soldier was killed.
Source: The News