Griffin in Mandela 'terrorist' jibe
British National Party leader Nick Griffin has sparked anger by describing the ailing Nelson Mandela as a "murdering old terrorist" on Twitter.
The far-right politician claimed the 94-year-old former South African president oversaw the transformation of his country from a "safe economic powerhouse" under the racist Apartheid regime to a "crime ridden basket case". He also seemed to mock the lung infection which has hospitalised the Nobel Peace Prize-winner.
In a series of tweets, Mr Griffin wrote: "Saint #nelsonmandela on last legs it seems. Make sure to avoid BBC when the murdering old terrorist croaks. It'll be nauseating.
"'Statesmen' must be judged on results not rhetoric. Before Mandela, South Africa was safe economic powerhouse. Now crime ridden basket case.
"No surprise #Mandela's lungs are shot - all those burning tyres. Smoking necklaces very bad for the health."
Mandela served 27 years of a life sentence in prisons including the infamous Robben Island for sabotage and conspiracy against the oppressive South African Apartheid regime. He was released in 1990 and was elected president of South Africa four years later in the country's first free and fair elections.
Many people took to Twitter to criticise Griffin's comments.
Peter Hain, the South Africa-raised former Labour minister and hardline anti-Apartheid campaigner, tweeted that it was a "nasty vicious attack".
Ruth Rosenau, a Labour councillor in Stoke-on-Trent, tweeted: "#Mandela - a towering figure in world history & an inspiration to millions. Nick Griffin - what will you be remembered for?"
Bob Woods, who tweeted from @BrummyTaff, said: "#NickGriffin Insults #Mandela & shows what a small minded odious irrelevant little man he is. Not fit to tie his laces."