Spate of UK arrests follow Christchurch attacks

UK police have arrested four people in three separate incidents who referenced the Christchurch terror attacks as part of malicious comments and racial abuse.

In Rochdale, near Manchester, two people were arrested after allegedly abusing and threatening a taxi driver while another in the same town was taken into custody after posting malicious comments online.

All three allegedly referenced the shootings.

Separately, a man from the Oldham area - also near Manchester - was arrested for malicious communications referencing the attacks and was bailed pending further enquiries.

"The events which happened two days ago in New Zealand continue to cause huge upset with people of all faiths from across Greater Manchester," Assistant Chief Constable of the Greater Manchester Police, Russ Jackson said.

"It is absolutely clear that compassion and support is how the overwhelming majority of people feel and, as always, Greater Manchester stands together.

"Over the weekend we have had, however, a small number of incidents where people have either posted or made remarks referencing the horrible events in New Zealand, particularly online where people often think it is acceptable to abuse others.

"Some of these comments are frankly disgusting. I am amazed how some people think it is acceptable to make such careless and disrespectful remarks.

"People are entitled to free speech and this is always respected, however, where this crosses the boundary into criminal offences, let me be really clear, we will make arrests and if the evidence is there we will seek the prosecution of those involved."