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British police arrest man over abuse directed at Brexit court challenger

Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - British police said on Wednesday they had arrested a man on suspicion of sending racial abuse to the woman who won the court battle that means Prime Minister Theresa May must get parliament's approval before starting the Brexit process.

The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that lawmakers must pass an act giving May the authority to invoke Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty and begin two years of divorce talks, backing the case led by investment manager Gina Miller.

Miller, 51, who was born in Guyana, received a catalog of death threats, racist and sexist abuse on social media since her legal challenge became increasingly high-profile last year and it received negative coverage from pro-Brexit supporting newspapers.

Miller said last November she had spent 60,000 pounds ($75,500) on her own protection including dealing with attacks on the website of her business.

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Britons backed leaving the European Union in a referendum last June after a bitter and divisive campaign, with personal attacks from both camps continuing long after the vote.

On Wednesday, police said they had arrested a 50-year-old man in Knightsbridge, an up-market area of London, on suspicion of racially aggravated malicious communications.

"The arrest is in connection with a complaint made to police on Nov. 6 by a 51-year-old woman relating to threats made online and a second unrelated comment believed to have been made by the same suspect in August 2016," police said in a statement.

Miller confirmed to Reuters the arrest related to the abuse she had suffered.

The man is the second person to have been arrested over the intimidation directed at Miller, while officers have issued eight notices warning people from across Britain to desist from their behavior or face criminal action.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison)

 
 
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