Anger as police ban placards branding Scientology a cult

POLICE HAVE been accused of “trampling on basic rights” after ordering protesters to take down banners accusing Scientology of being a cult.

Officers banned the placards during a demonstration against the self-styled church in Glasgow city centre last weekend. Civil liberties campaigners have warned a dangerous precedent is being set for the suppression of free speech.

Strathclyde Police’s intervention follows a similar incident in London last month when a youth was left facing prosecution. The 15-year-old had refused to remove a sign stating “Scientology is not a religion, it is a dangerous cult”.

Human rights lawyer John Scott claimed the episodes suggested the church was receiving preferential treatment.

He said: “Scientology is a wealthy organisation with pretty influential people involved. But that doesn’t mean it’s entitled to any more protection from the police – though it does appear that is the reality of the situation.

“This latest incident sets a dangerous precedent and I hope the police do not have to be taken to court for them to accept the right of free speech.”

So, as a roundup, that’s:
– one ban (Glasgow)
– one court summons issued (London)
– one threat of arrest (East Grinstead)
– one ban with threat of arrest if broken (Birmingham)
– initially banned, later reversed (Edinburgh)

All over that little four-letter word. It’s almost as if they sensitive about something…