Photos showing a man walking past Big Ben in London draped in a large ISIS flag with a small child perched on his shoulders waving a smaller flag has sparked outrage in the U.K.
British media reported that the photos were taken by a tourist, who posted them on a Korean web forum.
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 ISIS-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.”
The decision not to arrest the man has been criticized on social media, with some using it to question wider notions of public safety.
The day after, a car was spotted today outside an Asda store in Wembley Park bearing the flag of terrorist-associated organization Hezbollah.
Both actions have been deemed ‘within the law’ by police, despite the latter making many feel unsafe on the streets of Britain.