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Proposed UK flag burning ban prompts outcry from rights groups

[JURIST] A UK proposal to criminalize flag burning has drawn the ire of human rights groups, according to the BBC Sunday. The idea, submitted by Scotland Yard to Attorney General Lord Goldsmith [official profile], is aimed at curbing unruly protestors and suppressing opportunities for incitement to violence by banning flag burning in general as well as requiring protestors to keep their faces visible and affording greater power of arrest to police. Liberty UK [group website] director Shami Chakrabarti argues alongside other rights organizations and Liberal Democrat politicians that the police already have sufficient measures in place to deal with protestors and that additional legislation is unnecessary. BBC News has more.

The as-yet-unreleased plan was developed by UK Metropolitan Police [official website] Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur [official profile], the highest-ranking Muslim in Britain's police force. In an interview [recorded audio] with BBC Radio Five Live, Ghaffur highlighted the need for the ban to strengthen Britain's image as tough on extremists. He emphasized his belief that the ban would not exacerbate tensions with the Muslim community, as there would be an exemption for Muslims women's face coverings. BBC News has more; a recorded video report is also available. In June a proposed amendment to the US constitution prohibiting flag desecration [JURIST report] fell one vote short of the two-thirds Senate approval necessary to send it on to the states for ratification.

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