Greater Manchester Police (GMP) currently have three people in custody in relation to offenses relating to comments made about the New Zealand terrorist attack.
Early Sunday morning officers were called to Queensway, Rochdale, to a report of a taxi driver being abused and threatened by members of the public who were referencing the terrorist attacks in New Zealand.
Officers quickly attended and two people, a man aged 33 and a woman aged 34, were arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated public order offences. They were interviewed by detectives later that day.
Separately, police arrested a woman aged 38 from the Rochdale area for a racially aggravated public order offense following comments made online about the New Zealand attack. She remains in custody for questioning.
Separately, a 24-year-old man from the Oldham area was arrested for malicious communications referencing the New Zealand attack. He has been bailed pending further enquiries.
Both Oldham and Rochdale are migrant-heavy areas – and the latter is site of one of Britain’s more infamous rape gang scandals.
Assistant Chief Constable of GMP, Russ Jackson, said: “It is absolutely clear that compassion and 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.”
“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.”
In addition, social media firms and some news outlets have been criticised for sharing livestream footage of the attack and failing to address “far-right” extremism on their platforms.
In London, police have launched an investigation after a burning rag was found in a road near a mosque.
The cloth was extinguished by Metropolitan Police officers in Southall and sent for forensic examination. Nobody was injured.