Search

Brick Lane prepares for Sunday’s Mela parade amid storm over being shunted away from Victoria Park

PUBLISHED: 12:22 28 July 2016 | UPDATED: 12:22 28 July 2016

Protesters wave banners in council public gallery against Mela being staged at Weavers Fields

Protesters wave banners in council public gallery against Mela being staged at Weavers Fields

Archant

The biggest Bengali New Year Mela parade outside Bangladesh returns to Brick Lane in the heart of London’s East End on Sunday amid a protest by campaigners wanting it to be staged further out at Victoria Park..

Petition orgaiser Shahmizamul Hoque (right) with campaigners protesting at the Town Hall Petition orgaiser Shahmizamul Hoque (right) with campaigners protesting at the Town Hall

Protesters who packed the public gallery at Tower Hamlets Council’s meeting last week with placards demanding the Baishaki Mela be kept at Victoria Park say Brick Lane would be swamped by huge numbers of spectators.

“The narrow streets can’t cope,” petition organiser Shahmizamul Hoque told the East London Advertiser. “The Mela was very small when it started—now it’s much bigger and attracts 100,000 people.

“The families in Spitalfields will be suffering. This is politicising which is not good for the community.”

He presented a petition with 2,500 named to the council to move the Mela back to Victoria Park.

Protetsers wave placards in Town Hall public gallery Protetsers wave placards in Town Hall public gallery

But the idea was rejected. The Mela had become “too commercial” at Vicky Park and the local authority was now returning it to Brick Lane with a family festival at Bethnal Green’s Weavers Fields.

Disgraced ex-mayor Lutfur Rahman was the man who took the festival away from Weavers Fields amid criticism that he was using the Mela for his own politics.

Tory Opposition leader Peter Golds told the council: “The previous administration took it over and was bitterly criticised for using it as a political election rally.

“It should not be what it once became—a party political broadcast for Lutfur Rahman and his Tower Hamlets First party.”

But a former member of the ex-mayor’s now-barred administration, Cllr Ollui Rahman, railed against the switch away from Victoria Park, accusing the current mayor of “failing to listen” to the protesters.

He claimed: “The reason Mela is being moved to Brick Lane is some Labour councillors don’t want it on their doorstep.”

But Vicky Park had already staged the huge Lovebox music festival just the weekend before last—there wasn’t time to prepare it for Sunday’s Mela.

Mayor John Biggs told the Advertiser this week: “Victoria Park just won’t be ready, even if we wanted to stage it there.

“The promoter staging it without a council grant in the past made it more commercial. So we’re making it part of the community again and Brick Lane is the heart of that community.”

The parade begins 11am, winding its way along Buxton Street, Brick Lane, Old Montague Street and Vallance Road to arrive at Weavers Fields by 12 noon.

The festival in the park has an arts hub, sports zone, stalls, children’s rides and funfair, with a marquee for community events and a stage with live performances like Bollyflex. Council organisers expect up to 60,000 spectators turning up.

Latest East London News Stories

14:58

The mayor of Tower Hamlets has been getting his hands dirty painting the town black in Bethnal Green.

13:36

Diffusion tubes to monitor air pollution have been installed in east London along the busy St Paul’s Way in Bow Common.

Champagne corks have been popping all weekend around the borough in celebration of the Royal Wedding.

Yesterday, 19:00

Pupils at a school in Poplar are using an app to help them learn their multiplication tables.

Yesterday, 16:25

The Chinese are to open their biggest embassy at the old Royal Mint site on Tower Hill to rival their Washington DC complex.

Yesterday, 12:46

Neighbours and wellwishers are holding a fundraiser to help pay for therapy for Reece Kempley after he was paralysed when a prankster pushed him off a pier into the sea while on holiday.

Yesterday, 12:14

Rogue landlords, look out! All London boroughs have signed up for an online database allowing residents to ‘name and shame’ dodgy property owners.

Mon, 19:00

Tower Hamlets Council today began a week of activities raising awareness of a deadly brain disease.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now