Pair arrested after 'threatening Rochdale taxi driver with references to Christchurch terror attack'

Multiple incidents of abuse linked to New Zealand mosque shootings reported in days in since atrocity, say police

Chris Baynes
Sunday 17 March 2019 13:46
Christchurch mosque attacks: What we know so far

Two people have been arrested after a taxi driver was “abused and threatened” with references to the Christchurch mosque shootings, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has said.

A man, aged 33, and a woman, 34, were held on suspicion of racially aggravated public order offences in Rochdale in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The pair, who were customers of the taxi driver, are to be interviewed by detectives.

They were arrested after officers were called to Queensway, a residential road on the outskirts of the town, just before 12.20am.

GMP said it had been alerted to a number of other incidents of alleged abuse linked to the New Zealand attack, in which 50 people were murdered in two mosques on Friday.

Officers arrested a 38-year-old woman from Rochdale on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence on Sunday morning “following comments made online about the New Zealand attack”.

A 24-year-old from Oldham was arrested on Saturday over a Facebook post which police said expressed “support” for the white supremacist terror attack. He was held on suspicion of sending malicious communications.

Russ Jackson, assistant chief constable of GMP, said: “The events which happened two days ago in New Zealand continue to cause huge upset with people of all faiths from across Greater Manchester.

“It is absolutely clear that compassion, support is how the overwhelming majority of people feel and, as always, Greater Manchester stands together.

“Over the weekend we have had, however, a small number of incidents where people have either posted or made remarks referencing the horrible events in New Zealand, particularly online where people often think it is acceptable to abuse others.

“Some of these comments are frankly disgusting. I am amazed how some people think it is acceptable to make such careless and disrespectful remarks.

“People are entitled to free speech and this is always respected, however, where this crosses the boundary into criminal offences, let me be really clear, we will make arrests and if the evidence is there we will seek the prosecution of those involved.”

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