April 26, 2011

After Lennon bomb attempts, police crack down on internet football threats

Two Scottish men charged over sectarian statements, while in Northern Ireland police react to alleged BNP Facebook post.

Two men have appeared in court charged with posting bigoted and sectarian statements on the internet relating to Glasgow's Rangers and Celtic football clubs.

David Craig, 23, from Paisley, and Stephen Birrell, 27, from Glasgow, were charged with breach of the peace after being arrested by police at their homes early on Saturday. They made no plea and were released on bail.

Their arrests, which led to the seizure of mobile phones and computers, are not connected to a police operation to identify those behind an attempted letter bomb campaign against Celtic manager Neil Lennon, his lawyer Paul McBride, and Celtic fan and former MSP Trish Godman.

Four viable devices, which used bottles of explosive liquids wrapped in nails and were capable of causing "real harm", were posted to Lennon, McBride and Godman over a seven-week period from the Irvine and Kilwinning areas of north Ayrshire.

Meanwhile, in an unconnected development, police in Northern Ireland said they would investigate any complaint made about apparent threats against Lennon allegedly made by Steve Moore, the British National party's candidate in the Stormont assembly election, .

On a Facebook page in the name of Moore, the BNP candidate for East Antrim, readers were asked to choose between shooting Lennon and paedophiles. A picture was posted of the former Northern Ireland player beside an anonymous postage stamp image with the word "paedophiles" above it, captioned: "You have TWO bullets only, who dies??"

Matthew Collins from the anti-Nazi magazine Searchlight, said the comments "really reflect how stuck in the dark ages the BNP are with regard to Northern Ireland".

Collins added: "A couple of months ago the BNP were backing dissident Republicans, now they're taking enjoyment in the threats to the life of a football manager. This party is suffering from time warp sickness."

This is the BNP's first major foray into Ulster politics where the British far right have traditionally failed to make a breakthrough. In the early 1980s the National Front was humiliated in a local government election after their candidate in North Belfast received just 26 votes.

The attempted letter bomb attacks stunned Scottish football, and the legal and political establishment, leading to the personal intervention last week of the prime minister, David Cameron, and the Lord Advocate, Elish Angiolini, the head of the Scottish prosecution system.

It is understood both were in direct contact with Stephen House, the Strathclyde Police chief constable, last week. Cameron suggested the Scottish authorities had failed to tackle sectarianism.

The Guardian


Anonymous said...

lennon the surname CONJURES UP SO MUCH CONTROVERSY LATELY,IN REGARDS TO RACIAL/RELIGIOUS SENTIMENTS.is it mean or is it a coincidence?9xzulug

Anonymous said...

I bet every time this Steve Moore dope takes a shit Collins knows about it! Brilliant.