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Two arrested for KKK costume hate crime in Northern Ireland

AFP  |  Dublin 

Two men have been arrested in on charges after a group dressed in costumes posed for a photograph outside an Islamic centre, police said Thursday.

The image showed nine people in white hoods carrying crucifixes close to the in Newtownards on Saturday 27 October -- when many revellers were out celebrating

Police "have arrested two men, aged 33 and 36," the of (PSNI) said in a statement.

said police had carried our searches in Newtownards and had seized "a number of items".

The men were both arrested "on suspicion of displaying written material to stir up hatred or arouse fear", police said.

Both have been released on bail and a told AFP the investigation remained open.

Last weekend the paper reported they had identified the man who took the pictures of the group.

They named him as -- a member of unionist paramilitary group the (UDA).

The paper said it was also aware of the identities of two of the "klansmen" -- one a "major drug dealer" -- but that it could not publish them for legal reasons.

When images of the KKK group were circulated on there were reports that the party, dressed in white robes and hoods, also visited bars in Newtownards.

The group posed for photos at a pub in the town with a woman by the name of -- the partner of the of group National Front, the reported.

The publication produced an image of Mellor with an individual clothed in a blood-spattered KKK costume, holding a beer.

Mellor told the paper the people were "random strangers".

"A few blokes were dressed up for Halloween, no idea who they were," she added.

The paper also claimed Mellor "joked" three years ago about having tried to set fire to the same Islamic centre. A pig's was left outside the centre in August last year.

The KKK -- a white supremacist group founded after the abolition of slavery in the USA -- is notorious for committing barbarous acts of violence against ethnic minorities.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, November 09 2018. 00:10 IST