Wednesday, 23 February 2011
Poppy burning by SCUM made Remembrance Day observer's 'stomach turn'
Tony Kibble told a court tears of anger and rage welled in his eyes as members of Muslims Against Crusades (MAC) chanted "British soldiers burn in hell" while he attempted to mark a two minute silence.
Two of the group's members, Mohammad Haque, 30, and Emdadur Choudhury, 26, are accused of jointly carrying out the burning of three oversized plastic poppies in a way that was likely to cause "harassment, harm or distress" to those present.
The alleged offence took place on November 11 as rival demonstrations took place at Kensington Gore in central London.
Members of the English Defence League (EDL) had that day exchanged angry outbursts with some of the Islamist group's members.
They were separated by police lines and metal barriers close to the Royal Albert Hall, where a charity march ended with the handing over of books of condolence by servicemen and women ahead of Remembrance Sunday.
Mr Kibble told Belmarsh Magistrates' Court - sitting at Woolwich Crown Court: "They (MAC) carried on shouting throughout the two minute 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.
"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.
In it a MAC leader can be heard to say "the two minutes have started" before leading a series of anti-British chants as 20 more men joined in shouting: "Burn, burn British soldiers, British soldiers burn in Hell."
They continued to yell: "British soldiers - murderers, British soldiers - rapists, British soldiers - terrorists."
In the video Choudhury sets fire to a number of plastic poppies, says the prosecution.
The court was told Haque was standing nearby.
Prosecutor Simon Ray said their actions went "far beyond the boundaries of legitimate protest and freedom of expression".
Haque, from Bethnal Green, and Choudhury, from Spitalfields, both in East London, pleaded not guilty to one count each under section five of the Public Order Act.
Mr Kibble's friend Paula Allen — whose nephew is serving in the British forces — said in a statement to police she felt "insulted, sickened and offended" by what she heard.
Supporters of the two defendants and members of the EDL held counter demonstrations outside the court today, while others sat in the public gallery.
The trial continues.