LONDON — A 34-year-old mother has drawn death threats after a video of her profanity-laced racist rant against passengers aboard a crowded train was posted on the Internet.
Emma West, a former dental receptionist, was charged with racially aggravated harassment after a video shot by a train passenger was uploaded to YouTube on Sunday and quickly went viral.
West, of New Addington, London, was remanded into custody this week "for her own protection" after the court was told "there is a serious risk of her being injured in revenge attack by the public," Metro.co.uk reported.
West, who was also referred for psychiatric evaluation, is due to appear in court again on Tuesday.
West is accused of hurling a litany of abuse and racist insults at passengers while balancing her 4-year-old child on her lap on a tram from Croydon to Wimbledon. At one point the woman tells some passengers they should go back to their own country, saying they're not British because they are black.
The video, titled "My Tram Experience," was shot by Kelly Hollingsworth, a passenger who was sitting directly opposite of West. It had been viewed more than 9 million times as of Friday.
“Cannot believe some of these people that agree with the women on the tram, kinda scary,” Hollingsworth later tweeted.
Some far-right groups have come to West's defense.
Britain First, which bills itself as a "patriotic political movement," has launched a campaign to free what some have dubbed the "Racist Tram Lady."
"Locking this feisty English mother up in jail only reinforces the suspicion that if you are British then you are a second class citizen in your own country," Britain First says on its website.
The group on Friday held a small protest outside HMP Bronzefield, the women’s prison on the outskirts of Ashford in Surrey, where West is being held. Protesters held signs that read "Free Emma West" as well as Union flags and a Britain First banner, according to an article on citizen-journalism site Demotix.com.
"What she said on that tram was harsh, coarse and very unladylike, no doubt about that, but what abuse had she been subjected to before the camera phone was switched on?" Andy McBride, national coordinator for Britain First, was quoted as saying.
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