NEWS
13/02/2019 12:36 GMT | Updated 13/02/2019 16:05 GMT

Yellow Vest Protester James Goddard 'Arrested After Threatening Journalist'

"I swear to god when there’s no police around here, I’m going to take your head off your shoulders."

James Goddard, the protestor who gained notoriety for abusing MPs and journalists outside Westminster, has reportedly been arrested by police in Manchester. 

A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Police said a man aged 29 had been arrested “on suspicion of assault and public order offences” following a protest in Manchester City Centre on Saturday 9 February”.

The force said he would remain in custody for questioning.

The 29-year-old is believed to be Goddard, who was filmed telling a journalist at the protest: “I’ve warned you, I swear to god when there’s no police around here, I’m going to take your head off your shoulders, and all the football lads will as well, your card is marked.”

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) said Saturday’s alleged attack was just one in a “disturbing increase in attacks and threats both offline and online”.

General secretary Michelle Stanistreet said in a statement: “The NUJ unreservedly condemns all threats against media workers, this behaviour is outrageous and unacceptable and it is vital that the police do all they can to ensure journalists can do their jobs safely.

“The authorities need to wake up to this escalating problem and tackle it robustly.”

 

PA Wire/PA Images

 

Goddard’s social media presence and pages on crowdfunding websites – most of which have since been taken down – paint a picture of a pro-Brexitanti-Muslim activist with a love of confrontation, and a fondness for the far-right activist Tommy Robinson.

Peaking early in the new year, Westminster was plagued by a handful of protesters shouting abuse at politicians and journalists, sparking safety concerns and prompting calls for police intervention

In one particularly shocking incident, Tory MP Anna Soubry was repeatedly called a “Nazi” during a live BBC News broadcast, in an incident described as “aggressive, threatening and intimidating”.