Islamist protesters held at US embassy in London: police

2nd December 2011, Comments 0 comments

British police arrested 22 suspected members of a banned Islamist group on Thursday during a protest outside the US embassy in London against the use of drones, Scotland Yard said.

The demonstrators were believed to be from the "Muslims Against Crusades" group, which was outlawed in Britain last month amid fears it would burn poppies on Armistice Day celebrations, sources said.

A spokesman for London's Metropolitan Police said it had arrested 20 people "for further investigation around being suspected of being a member of a proscribed group."

"There were two further arrests, one for obstruction, one for violent disorder. They are currently in custody," the spokesman told AFP, confirming that the arrests were outside the US embassy.

A police source said the banned group was Muslims Against Crusades.

The Press Association news agency said the demonstration was in protest against attacks by US drones targeting militants in Pakistan and that a number of demonstrators remained at the scene.

Britain announced on November 11 that being a member of Muslims Against Crusades group had been banned.

Interior minister Theresa May said at the time that the organisation had already been proscribed under a number of names, including Al Ghurabaa and Islam4UK.

In response, the group said it was disbanding and also cancelling a "Hell for Heroes" demonstration planned to disrupt ceremonies held every year on November 11 to mark Armistice Day.

But it said that the "call for Islam will never be silenced by any ban or proscription".

At a protest in London on November 11 last year, the group provoked anger by burning poppies and chanting "British soldiers burn in hell."

Paper poppies are worn in Britain on Armistice Day, the anniversary of when hostilities ceased in World War I, to remember the dead from two world wars and later conflicts.

© 2011 AFP

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