82% of the public support the prosecution of Emdadur Choudhury, the Muslims against Crusades (MAC) protestor who was this week convicted at Woolwich Crown Court of a public order offence for his ‘calculated and deliberate’ insult to Britain’s war dead by burning two large plastic poppies near the Royal Albert Hall on 11 November 2010.
That is the finding of a YouGov poll conducted online on 8 and 9 March among a representative sample of 2,436 British adults aged 18 and over. The data table is available at:
The proportion in favour of Choudhury’s prosecution peaked at 90% among Conservative voters and 91% of the over-60s. Critics of the prosecution averaged 10% but stood at 14% for Liberal Democrats and 13% for Londoners. 9% expressed no opinion.
YouGov did not ask any questions about the size of the fine imposed on Choudhury, just £50, nor about his apparent lack of remorse for the incident, both matters which have been the subject of negative coverage in the media. Another member of MAC, Mohammad Haque, was acquitted over his part in the same demonstration.
Thinking about protests more generally, 67% of YouGov’s sample said that it was unacceptable for extremists to make offensive or provocative protests that risk inflaming racial and religious tensions, and that it was appropriate for them to be prosecuted. 25% upheld the right to peaceful protest even if the views were extreme and liable to offend.