Photos showing a man walking past British Parliament draped in the black flag associated with the Islamic State group with a small child perched on his shoulders waving a smaller flag has sparked outrage in the U.K.
The images emerged just days before the 10-year anniversary of the July 7 terrorist attacks in London and a week after 30 British tourists were killed in an Islamic State-inspired terrorist attack in Tunisia, which especially fueled the fury.
The Metropolitan Police said in a statement that police confronted the man, who was pictured walking across the street from London's Big Ben, and determined that his actions were legal.
“The man was spoken to by officers, with consideration given to relevant legislation, particularly the Public Order Act. The decision was taken by officers at the time that the man was acting within the law. He was not arrested,” the Metropolitan Police statement said.
“Wearing, carrying or displaying of an emblem or flag, by itself, is not an offense unless the way in which, or the circumstance in which, the emblem is worn, carried or displayed is such as to cause reasonable suspicion that the person is a supporter or member of a proscribed organization,” the police said. “While support of and membership of ISIS is unlawful, it is not a criminal offense to advocate the creation of an independent state."
British media reported that the photos were taken by a tourist, who posted them on a Korean web forum.
Once the photos reached back to Britain, criticism abounded on social media.
What is this country coming to when a man & child are allowed to walk outside the Houses of Parliament draped in the ISIS flag ........— Kezz Buttriss (@KezzButtriss) July 5, 2015
Islamist terrorists killed 52 people on July 7, 2005 in a coordinated series of bombings on London Underground trains and a bus.