Woolwich: Protest marches as suspect questioned

Far-right British National Party leader Nick Griffin attends a protest in London. Picture: Reuters

Far-right British National Party leader Nick Griffin attends a protest in London. Picture: Reuters

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ONE of the men suspected of murdering soldier Lee Rigby was continuing to be questioned today as clashes took place at protest marches arranged in the light of his death.

Michael Adebolajo, who was shot by police, was released from hospital yesterday and taken into custody.

Lee Rigby. Picture: Getty

Lee Rigby. Picture: Getty

The 28-year-old had already been arrested on suspicion of Drummer Rigby’s murder, and yesterday was further arrested on suspicion of the attempted murder of a police officer.

Michael Adebowale, 22, has already been charged with murdering the young soldier and is due to appear at the Old Bailey on Monday. Two men aged 42 and 46 arrested on suspicion of being involved in the illegal supply of guns were bailed today to return to a south London police station later this month.

Far-right and anti-fascist groups are holding demonstrations in central London amid increased tensions following the violent death of 25-year-old Drummer Rigby in Woolwich, south-east London.

The British National Party (BNP) is holding a march in Westminster. Their members gathered on Old Palace Yard this afternoon, clutching BNP banners and calling for “hate preachers out”.

They originally intended to march in Woolwich but police stepped in to put a stop to their plans to avoid igniting community tensions.

About 300 members of counter protesters from Unite Against Fascism gathered at the scene and were told by police to move to Whitehall Gardens to avoid confrontation with members of the BNP.

Events have also been planned in various locations across the country by the English Defence League.

Yesterday, the family of Drummer Rigby stressed that the young soldier would not have wanted violent attacks to be carried out in his name, and urged protesters to remain peaceful.

In a statement released through the Ministry of Defence, members of Drummer Rigby’s family including his mother Lyn, stepfather Ian, wife Rebecca and son Jack, said: “We would like to emphasise that Lee would not want people to use his name as an excuse to carry out attacks against others.

“We would not wish any other families to go through this harrowing experience and appeal to everyone to keep calm and show their respect in a peaceful manner.”

Labour leader Ed Miliband today joined celebrities and thousands of others in signing a letter to a newspaper in protest at far-right groups using the death of Drummer Rigby for their own agenda.

In the letter to the editor of the Daily Mirror, they wrote: “The EDL and Islamic extremists are more similar to each other than to us. They share a violent, hate-fuelled desire for conflict and war, and we will not let either group tear our country apart.

“We condemn the shameful rise in anti-Muslim violence since Drummer Rigby’s killing. The fair-minded majority of Britons understand that a community cannot be blamed for the actions of just two. We know that the EDL does not speak for all Britain, just as we know that Muslim extremists do not speak for all Muslims.”

The letter was signed by stars including Eddie Izzard, union bosses including TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady, politicians and leaders of Islamic, Jewish and Christian organisations.

Yesterday hundreds of people visited Greenwich Islamic Centre, also known as Woolwich Mosque, after Friday prayers for tea and biscuits in an event aimed at calming tensions.

Representatives of Christian, Muslim, Sikh and Jewish communities also placed flowers arranged to spell the word Peace amongst the thousands of bouquets, cards, poems and candles left in memory of Drummer Rigby near the scene of his killing.

An inquest was opened and adjourned into the father-of-one’s death at Southwark Coroner’s Court, where it emerged that he had been working at the Tower of London on the day he died.

The Queen also visited the barracks where he was based, and met soldiers and officers from his chain of command.

Meanwhile officers in Scotland last night said a 25-year-old man had been charged in Inverness in connection with an alleged hate crime on an internet memorial page for Drummer Rigby.

In a statement, police in Scotland said a man was charged “in connection with an enquiry into alleged hate crime comments on Facebook”.

The man is expected to appear at Inverness Sheriff Court on Monday.

SEE ALSO:

Woolwich: Lee Rigby killed on way to barracks

Queen visits Woolwich to pay tribute to Lee Rigby

Woolwich: Call for women to get bravery awards

Woolwich: Increased attacks on Muslims since killing

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