Muhammad cartoons used at London free-speech rally

About 200 people held a free-speech demonstration in central London on Saturday, with several carrying posters of the controversial Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that infuriated much of the Muslim world. Protest organizers withdrew their open invitation for the protesters to display the Prophet Muhammad cartoons on Thursday. Peter Risdon, an organizer of the March for Free Expression, initially had announced that he would allow protesters to display banners and wear T-shirts depicting those images. On Thursday, however, Risdon withdrew the invitation posted on the rally's Web site, asking demonstrators not to show the cartoons out of fear their display would alienate sympathetic Muslims and give credibility to a far-right political group, the British National Party, which has used the cartoons as a rallying cry. The decision sparked hundreds of angry responses on the Web site by those planning to attend the march, many of whom deemed Risdon's change of heart as political censorship. "It's my freedom, everyone's freedom, to expose these pictures and encourage everyone to do the same," said protester Reza Moradi, 29, who identified himself as an Iranian who has lived in Britain for eight years. Other demonstrators showed their support for the cartoons by carrying signs saying "Stop `toonophobia," or draping themselves in Danish flags.