LONDON — Police, politicians and activists in Britain are warning of rising anti-Muslim sentiment following the slaughter of an off-duty British soldier in a London street, an apparent act of Islamic extremism that has horrified the nation.
Metropolitan Police investigating the killing of Lee Rigby, a 25-year-old soldier who was run over by attackers then butchered by knives, arrested three more men in the murder investigation Saturday. Stun guns were used on two of the three men, aged 24 and 28, police said.
The latest arrests came as an estimated 1,500 members of an extremist right-wing group called the English Defense League marched in the northern English city of Newcastle, chanting Rigby's name. In the southern English city of Portsmouth, police arrested two men for a racially motivated assault as hundreds of demonstrators gathered near one mosque, while several more people were detained for alleged racist offenses elsewhere.
The two men suspected of killing the soldier, Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, remained under armed guard in separate London hospitals after police shot them at the scene. Police have not officially named the suspects because they have not been charged, but British officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the investigation, have confirmed their names to The Associated Press.
Wednesday's murder in southeast London's Woolwich area shocked the nation partly because the horrific scenes were recorded on witnesses' cellphones, and a video picked up by British media showed one of the two suspects, his hands bloodied, making political statements and warning of further violence as the soldier lay on the ground behind him.
Counter-terrorism police also are questioning a friend of Adebolajo who was arrested Friday night immediately after he gave BBC Television an interview detailing why he thought Adebolajo may have become radicalized.