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The BBC's Jon Brain
"They say they will not rest until every one of them has left"
 real 56k

Portsmouth Evening Echo's editor, Mike Gilson,
"Some of the people leading the protest are genuine"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 8 August, 2000, 22:50 GMT 23:50 UK
'Paedophile' protests force rehousing offer
Firemen tend burnt out car in Portsmouth
Mob justice has forced a city council to take action
Protesters are celebrating after forcing a city council to offer to rehouse suspected child abusers on a housing estate.

Portsmouth City Council said it would help sex offenders move off the Paulsgrove estate, where hundreds of people have held five nights of demonstrations.

There are too many wild lists with inaccurate numbers going around

Karen Traviss, Portsmouth City Council

The protests follow in the wake of the "name and shame" campaign by the News of the World newspaper to identify alleged paedophiles.

Elsewhere in the country, innocent people have been targeted and a suspected paedophile is reported to have killed himself after a vigilante attack on his home left him in fear of his life.

Portsmouth's deputy council leader Frank Worley said the rehousing offer was intended to stop the violence which has torn apart the estate.

Flash point

"If they are proving a flash point for the crowd of youngsters and community leaders then they should be given the chance to go elsewhere," he said.

Protests have escalated from peaceful demonstrations into riots with police coming under fire, cars being burned and windows smashed.
Police officers
Police guard the flat of a suspected sex offender in Portsmouth

Editor of the Portsmouth Evening Echo Mike Gilson told BBC Radio 5 the violence was being caused by a small minority of troublemakers.

"Some of the people leading the protest are genuine in their feelings," he said.

"But when you talk about finding fire bombs on the estate and police being hit with coins and stones then you realise that things are getting out of control."

Mob justice

Council spokeswoman Karen Traviss said anyone who felt threatened would be offered the chance to move.

"There are too many wild lists with inaccurate numbers going around - there are completely innocent people that have been targeted," she said.
News of the World
News of the World dropped its "name and shame" campaign

The angry "mob justice" has had devastating effects elsewhere in the country.

Thames Valley Police said a group of 15 anti-paedophile vigilantes chased and beat a 29-year-old Asian man after he was seen talking to children in Whitley, Berkshire on Monday.

In Oldham, Greater Manchester, a 54-year-old grandfather is believed to have died after taking an overdose because he was "literally scared to death".

Vigilism

James White's solicitor Milton Firman said he went to pieces after being hounded out of his home when neighbours discovered his crimes.

Before his death White admitted a number of indecent assaults against children, one earlier this year, the others dating back to the early 1980s.

The News of the World has called for vigilism not vigilantism after halting the publication of names of sex offenders following protests from the government, police and care authorities.

The paper said it had nothing to do with Mr White's death as he was not even named in their For Sarah campaign, launched after the abduction and murder of eight-year-old Sarah Payne last month.

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.

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