Protesters celebrate city's 'cult' stance

The Scotsman/May 27, 2008

Protesters who branded Scientology a "cult" were celebrating today after Edinburgh council bosses said they had "no objection" to the use of the word.

Earlier this month, a teenager taking part in a London protest held up a sign which read "Scientology is not a religion, it is a dangerous cult," and was handed a court summons by police for refusing to put it down.

The Crown Prosecution Service has since ruled the word was neither "abusive or insulting" to the church, which counts actor Tom Cruise as a follower, and no further action will be taken.

But to avoid similar problems in Scotland, protesters who regularly rally outside the Scientology centre on South Bridge contacted the city council.

A council official replied: "I understand that some of the signs you use may display the word 'cult' and there is no objection to this."

A Lothian and Borders Police spokesman also said the force had "no issue" with the use of word as part of a peaceful protest.

Jen Corlew, media director with human rights group Liberty, said today: "The leadership shown by the City of Edinburgh Council's decision to protect free speech is a positive step."

The youngster in London was told his sign breached the Public Order Act, which makes it an offence to display a "threatening, insulting or abusive" sign.

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