Woolwich attack: Online posts over Lee Rigby killing spark charges

A backlash of anger following the killing of Drummer Lee Rigby has led to several people facing charges over comments posted on social media sites.

Incidents have been reported to police across England with arrests in Lincoln, Bristol, Woking, Hastings and Southsea.

Some have been accused of offences under the Communications Act, and others have been arrested on suspicion of inciting racial or religious hatred.

The forces involved have reminded people such comments are unacceptable.

Meanwhile, two men were due to appear at Thames Magistrates' Court, charged with religiously aggravated threatening behaviour over an incident in an east London fast food restaurant on Thursday.

Suspect filmed

And in Kent, an 85-year-old woman from Chatham accused of shouting racist abuse at Muslims attending Friday prayers in Gillingham was charged with a racially-aggravated public order offence.

Drummer Rigby was killed in south east London on Wednesday. Two murder suspects shot by police were arrested and are under armed guard in hospital.

Shortly after the killing, a man was filmed by a passer-by, saying he carried out the attack because British soldiers kill Muslims every day.

Benjamin Flatters, 22, from Lincoln, who was charged with making malicious comments on Facebook allegedly of a racist or anti-religious nature, appeared before magistrates earlier.

Lincolnshire Police said a second man was also visited by officers in the city and warned about his social media activity.

Avon and Somerset Police have arrested two people from Bristol, aged 23 and 22, under the Public Order Act, on suspicion of inciting racial or religious hatred.

'Menacing message'

In Surrey, Mohammed Mazar, 19, of Balmoral Drive, Woking has been charged with improper use of the public electronic communications network, in connections with comments posed on a social media website.

Sussex Police arrested and charged a London man in Hastings on Friday in connection with an offensive message on Facebook. Unemployed Adam Rogers, 28, of Kingsman Street, Woolwich, is accused of sending an "offensive, indecent or menacing message" online.

Hampshire Constabulary said a 23-year-old Michaela Turner, of Lumsden Road, Southsea, had been charged with an offence under the Communications Act in connection with a "grossly offensive" message.

In connection with the fast food restaurant incident, labourer Toni Latcal, 32, and plasterer Eugen-Aurelian Eugen-Beredei, 34, both of London, were arrested on Thursday night.

Mr Latcal is charged with religiously-aggravated threatening behaviour and causing criminal damage, while Mr Eugen-Beredei has been accused of religiously-aggravated threatening behaviour.

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