1,000 march to reclaim streets of East London after summer riots

Community leaders are to stage a ‘peace procession’ through the heart of East London to reclaim the streets following the August riots.

It’s part of a campaign in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics to reconnect youngsters to their community.

Six schools from Tower Hamlets and Hackney take part as 1,000 ‘peace’ marchers make their way on December 15 from Whitechapel to Mare Street—the scene of some of the worst rioting four months ago.

“We were planning this procession before the riots,” lead organiser Neil Jamieson told the Advertiser. “But the troubles in August have made it more symbolic.”

Youngsters will be shown sites on the route of famous people and folk heroes from the past who helped create the London they are growing up in today.

“This will help them understand where their history is,” added Mr Jamieson, founder of Telco, The East London Communities Organisation which is staging the procession. “It’s richer and more significant to their lives than learning about kings and queens.”

The procession begins 10am at Ford Square, Whitechapel, close to the house in Ashfield Street where Tesco supermarket founder Jack Cohen grew up, then passes where Salvation Army founder General Booth preached outside the Blind Beggar pub in the 1860s.

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It stops off at York Hall where 13 tableaux are being performed by organisations about their own story, such as Quaker Social Action, Bethnal Green Technical College, Asmani Trust, East London Mosque, St Peter’s Anglican church, St Casimir’s Lithuanian church, the Catholic Church of the Assumption, Salvation Army and Unison trade union.

The young marchers continue to Mare Street, passing St Joseph’s Hospice which performs its own tableau, heading for a multi-faith candlelight festive service marking Christmas, Eid and Chanukah, attended by Bishop of Stepney Adrian Newman, London Muslim Centre’s Dr Mohammed Bari and Senior Rabbi Jonathon Wittenberg from London’s Jewish community.