Far-right protest over troops as teenager denies Facebook charge

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PROTESTERS shouted abuse and waved placards outside a court as a teenager appeared before magistrates accused of posting a “grossly offensive” message on Facebook about the deaths of six British soldiers.

Azhar Ahmed, 19, of Fir Avenue, Ravensthorpe. Dewsbury, appeared at the town’s magistrates’ court charged under the Communications Act 2003 with sending a message that was grossly offensive on March 8.

A racially-aggravated public order charge was withdrawn at yesterday’s hearing and Ahmed denied the new charge that was put to him.

Ahmed was bailed to an address not given to courtand will stand trial at Huddersfield Magistrates’ Court on July 3.

A large police presence had to be organised outside as about 50 far-right protesters staged a noisy demonstration when the defendant arrived and left.

The protesters – some of whom had to be held back by the police – were linked to the English Defence League.

Some of those gathered shouted abuse and held placards, featuring the name Combined Ex-Forces, which read: “Jail those who insult our troops”.

The six soldiers were killed by an improvised explosive device in Lashkar Gah on March 6 in the deadliest single attack on UK forces in Afghanistan since 2001.

Five of the soldiers had been serving with the Yorkshire Regiment.

Sergeant Nigel Coupe, 33, of 1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment was killed alongside Corporal Jake Hartley, 20, Private Anthony Frampton, 20, Private Christopher Kershaw, 19, Private Daniel Wade, 20, and Private Daniel Wilford, 21, all of 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment.