Arrests and Attacks Mount Over Woolwich Killing

Photo: Matthew Lloyd/2013 Getty Images

Yet another person has been taken into custody in connection with the hacking death of British soldier Lee Rigby, The Guardian reports. Witnesses say five ski-masked police officers arrested a 22-year-old man in North London on Sunday afternoon. "The guy was on a push bike when the police came out of nowhere and wrestled him to the ground," said one. A Scotland Yard spokesman confirmed the arrest "on suspicion of conspiracy to murder." On Saturday, three other men in their twenties were arrested on the same charges. (Another man, Abu Nusaybah, was arrested on Friday night immediately after a doing an interview with the BBC during which he claimed Michael Adebolajo, one of the two suspects in the Woolwich murder, had been asked to work as a spy by the UK's MI-5 agency. However, his arrest was on unrelated terrorism charges.)

Also on Sunday: The British and Kenyan governments both confirmed that Adebolajo was deported from Kenya in 2012 for "trying to travel to Somalia to join a militant group al Shabaab." In response to questions about whether the attack could have been prevented, Prime Minister David Cameron announced the creation of a group aimed at fighting the "poisonous narrative" of Muslim extremists in the UK. "It will assess the range of strategies to disrupt individuals who may be influential in fostering extremism," he said. "It needs to confront those religious leaders who promote violence head on."

Meanwhile, around 2,000 people showed up for a Newcastle march led by the far-right English Defense League on Saturday. The AP reports that three people were arrested for posting racist tweets before the rally, and 24 were detained during the demonstration for drunkenness, vandalism, and distributing racist material. In his address to the crowd, EDL head Tommy Robinson said, "We cannot allow this soldier's death to be in vain. We are the only ones who dare say it. When did the truth become hate speech?" There has been a major rise in anti-Muslim incidents since the Woolwich murder. A monitoring group said they'd received 162 reports of verbal, physical, and online attacks on Muslims and mosques in the 48 hours since since Rigby's death, compared to their usual daily average of "four to six."