Feb 23 2011
WWII veteran’s grandson’s ‘tears of rage’ as he watched demonstration during two minutes’ silence. Muslims chanted ‘British troops burn in hell’ outside a court today, as two men went on trial for burning poppies on Remembrance Day.
UK DAILY MAIL — (H/T Maria) – Ugly scenes erupted outside Belmarsh Magistrates’ Court, south-east London, as Muslims gathered to support Mohammed Haque and Emdadur Choudhury, who are accused of using ‘threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour’.
Their supporters’ chants of ‘democracy, hypocrisy’ were met with jeers from members of the English Defence League who waved flags of St George and placards of poppies.
The defendants were allegedly part of a group who shouted slogans that British soldiers were rapists
and murderers during a demonstration on November 11 last year. The incident happened during a two-minute silence close to the Royal Albert Hall where the Remembrance Day service is traditionally held.
Haque, 30, of Bethnal Green, and Choudhury, 26, of Spitalfields, pleaded not guilty to the charge under the Public Order Act. Simon Ray, prosecuting, said Haque and Choudhury were part of the Armistice Day demo by the group Muslims Against Crusades in Kensington Gore. He said they were protesting before and throughout the two-minute silence to mark Britain’s war dead.
Shortly after the end of the silence the two men lit large pieces of red and black plastic which were designed to resemble poppies, the court heard. Mr Ray said that both defendants had acted jointly in the burning of the poppies.
‘Muslims Against Crusades had gathered at the corner of Exhibition Road and Kensington Gore and on an opposite corner were members of the English Defence League,’ said Mr Ray. ‘The MAC protesters were carrying signs with slogans critical of Britain’s role in Afghanistan and used microphones to voice vehement criticism of the Armed Forces and those who supported them including allegations that British troops were rapists and murderers,’ he said.
‘The right of freedom of speech is very important and the decision to prosecute should not be taken lightly. In this case the actions of these defendants went beyond reasonable protest and the exercise of freedom of speech.
‘The prosecution was brought in order to prevent public disorder and to protect the rights of British people to exercise their right to the two-minute silence.’
A grandson of a Second World War soldier said he felt ‘sick inside’ when witnessing the men’s protest, the magistrates heard. Tony Kibble said tears of anger and rage welled in his eyes as the Muslim group shouted through the two minute’s silence. ‘Half way through, I looked up to see what was going on around and I saw a ball of fire fall to the ground. Literally, my stomach turned over.’ He continued: ‘I felt sick inside. It is something that means so much to me and to see what I believed to be a wreath of poppies fall to the ground – it is just despicable.’
Video footage of the incident was shown in court today. In it, a leader of the MAC can be heard to say ‘the two minutes have started’ before leading a series of anti-British chants.
Around 20 men at the demonstration joined in with shouts of: ‘Burn, burn British soldiers, British soldiers burn in Hell.’ The crowd continued: ‘British soldiers – murderers, British soldiers – rapists, British soldiers – terrorists.’