Arrested for ski-mask protest

JAMES Scott took to the streets of Ipswich to support Jack Straw's stance over the removal of veils only to end up arrested for wearing a ski mask.Today, the 40-year-old was still declining to remove his own headwear as he told how he was nicked for backing the leader of the House of Commons.

JAMES Scott took to the streets of Ipswich to support Jack Straw's stance over the removal of veils only to end up arrested for wearing a ski mask.

Today, the 40-year-old was still declining to remove his own headwear as he told how he was nicked for backing the leader of the House of Commons.

Mr Scott said he only began his petition because he agreed with Mr Straw's comments that the niqab veil worn by Muslim women can be divisive.

He said: “I was angry when people starting jumping on the bandwagon and criticising Jack Straw - I think he's right.


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“It is nothing to do with race or religion but he should have the right to ask his female constituents to take off their veils as it is harder to communicate if they have one on.”

Mr Scott was wearing the ski-mask and a T-shirt with the slogan 'I'm with Jack' and 'face-to-face; nothing to hide' when he was arrested on Monday.

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He started his protest in a shopping centre but was quickly asked to leave and was told he was distressing customers. The dad-of-one then went to The Walk where he continued his demonstration.

He said: “I was standing and asking people in a quite voice, not intimidating them. I asked people how they felt and got a couple of hundred signatures which I want to send to Downing Street to show them what people think.

“Some people were hostile to me and said they wouldn't talk to me dressed like that, which was the point I was trying to make.

“Then two female police officers arrived and told me I should demonstrate without my balaclava, they said if I carried on I would be arrested.”

And when Mr Scott, who has carried out similar protests in Norwich and Lowestoft without being arrested, refused he was taken into custody.

Mr Scott, who lives in Lowestoft, said: “I didn't expect to be arrested just for standing there with a balaclava on. It is PC nonsense and people are now scared to say what they think so I'm pleased I've stood up and said it.”

A spokesman for Suffolk police said: “Police were called to The Walk by concerned members of the public, who reported that the male was approaching passers-by to ask for signatures for a petition, whilst wearing a balaclava.

“When approached by officers the male refused to cooperate with them and was subsequently arrested for causing a Breach of the Peace.

“This action was taken because of the man's conduct towards the officers and also for his own protection, as his actions were drawing a negative response from those around him.”

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