Teen Calls Scientology a 'Cult,' Faces Charges

London police leap to institution's defense
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2008 3:40 PM CDT
Disguised members of an internet-based group called Anonymous protest near buildings associated with the Church of Scientology on Saturday, March 15, 2008, in Los Angeles.    (AP Photo/Chris Weeks)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – A 15-year-old is facing charges for holding a sign calling Scientology a "cult" during a peaceful protest. A London policewoman asked the teen to remove the sign; when he refused, she handed him a court summons, the Guardian reports. Free speech and anti-cult groups are furious, particularly in light of recent gifts from the Church of Scientology to the London Police Department totaling thousands of pounds.

"This barmy prosecution makes a mockery of Britain's free speech traditions," said the head of a human rights group.