BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK
Front Page 
Northern Ireland 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Sydney Rapson MP
"Outsiders who are in some respects causing trouble for troubles sake"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 8 August, 2000, 09:29 GMT 10:29 UK
Fifth night of 'paedophile' protests
Burnt-out car
A car set alight by protesters at an earlier disturbance is removed by workmen
More than 200 people have demonstrated against alleged paedophiles in Portsmouth for a fifth night, police have confirmed.

One man was arrested for assaulting a police officer and the window of a home on the town's Paulsgrove estate was smashed late on Monday night.

The protest began peacefully but ended with demonstrators hurling missiles at police.

Thirteen people have been arrested in disturbances outside alleged paedophiles' homes in two areas of the estate, prompting a Portsmouth MP to call for suspected child abusers in the area to be moved out.

If all these people can be moved out, that will take away the point of contention

Sydney Rapson MP

The protests began following the naming and shaming of sex offenders in the News of the World newspaper.

Portsmouth North Labour MP Sydney Rapson told BBC Radio 4's Today programme several cars had been burnt out at the Paulsgrove estate.

"It is escalating, rather than dying," he said. "The police are doing their job, protecting life and property, and in doing that, it is seen by the crowd as protecting the suspect.

News of the World
News of the World dropped its "name and shame" campaign
Mr Rapson and councillors for the affected area have met the acting leader of Portsmouth City Council to ask for suspected paedophiles to be moved from the area.

He said: "If all these people can be moved out, that will take away the point of contention."

A policeman spokesman described the protests, saying: "Stones were thrown and a window smashed. Police were forced to don protective headgear when missiles, including stones, coins and eggs were thrown at them."

In previous demonstrations the house was damaged and a car belonging to one of the residents was overturned, forcing police to evacuate residents under threat.

The News of the World began its campaign following the abduction and murder of eight-year-old Sarah Payne last month.

'Sarah's Law'

But the paper halted the publication of names following protests from the government, police and care authorities, who worried it would drive paedophiles underground.

Instead, the paper has thrown its weight behind a campaign for legislation giving parents the right to access names of sex offenders living in their communities.

The "Sarah's Law" campaign has the backing of Sarah Payne's parents and is based on similar legislation, Megan's Law, in the United States.

Despite calls for vigilism not vigilantism from the newspaper, there have been a series of attacks against alleged paedophiles and innocent men.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories