Twitter Users Detained In UK Over Burning Poppy Picture

"twitter arrest"A Twitter user in the UK has been arrested by police in Kent after he posted a picture on the social media site showing a burning poppy.

A statement from Kent police issued to the Telegraph newspaper said that a man from Aylesham had been detained on suspicion of making malicious telecommunications last night.

It is still unclear though if the man who is being held in custody is responsible for the actual burning of the poppy or if he just posted the picture on Twitter.

The detainment of the man has led to many people on Twitter speaking out about the loss of freedom of speech and civil liberties in the UK.

One Twitter user tweeted: “We do not have a right not to be offended.  We certainly don´t have a right to lock up someone for offending people.”
Another Twitter user posted: “Dear idiots at Kent police, burning a poppy may be obnoxious but it is not a criminal offence.”

Journalist and lawyer David Allen Green added: “What was the point if winning either World War, if in 2012 someone can be casually arrested by Kent Police for burning a poppy?”

The posting of the picture of the burning poppy came as many in the UK were marking Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday where those who support the cause wear a poppy as a sign of remembrance of military personnel who have lost their lives in wars over the decades.

Many commentators have observed that the detainment of a man for posting a picture that shows the burning of a poppy is not illegal and that this is a move towards removing civil liberties from people in the UK.

Nick Pickles from the civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, told the Telegraph: “Kent police need to urgently release this man and drop an utterly ridiculous investigation into something that has harmed no-one.

“It is not illegal to offend people and, however idiotic or insensitive the picture may have been, it is certainly not worthy of arrest.

“This case highlights the urgent need to reform a law that poses a serious risk to freedom of speech after several ludicrous prosecutions in recent months.”

A statement from Kent Police said: “A man is due to be interviewed by police this morning following reports that a picture of a burning poppy had been posted on a social media website.

“Officers were contacted at around 4pm yesterday and alerted to the picture, which was reportedly accompanied by an offensive comment.  Following an investigation by Kent Police, a 19 year old Canterbury man was arrested on suspicion of an offence under the Malicious Communications Act.  He is currently in custody.”

The case has highlighted the need in the UK for laws regarding social media posts deemed to be offensive to be made clearer.


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1 comment… add one

  • avatar

    Zeke Erie November 14, 2012, 12:02 pm

    Although I do not agree with the burning of the poppy, it does involve freedom of speech. Many died that this person might have the right to commit this act.I would also think that the police would have more important matters to investigate.


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