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British police officials issued denials and apologies after news dealers said officers contacted them about sales of Charlie Hebdo magazine. A reported 2,000 of the 5 million copies of the magazine’s “survivors’ issue” went to U.K. customers. Officers in at least three jurisdictions there approached retailers, in at least one case asking for customers’ names. “There were questions asking where we got the Charlie Hebdo copies from, did we know who we sold them to — which we didn’t say,” said a retailer in Presteigne, Wales. Local police officials said “the visits were only made to enhance public safety and to provide community reassurance.” After people raised free-speech concerns, Sir Peter Fahy, the country’s top cop for “preventing extremism,” tried to provide ...well... community reassurance. “It is important that we do not erode the very freedoms that we are trying to protect,” he said, and investigating who’d bought the magazine “is not to be supported unless there is clear evidence that a crime has been committed.” But national guidance to police said visiting Hebdo dealers might be worth considering “if there are raised community tension indicators.” (AC/London Guardian) ...Je Suis Charlie Dealer.
Original Publication Date: 22 February 2015
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 21.

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