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Manchester bombing: Tower Hamlets mayor calls for more police presence in east London

PUBLISHED: 18:29 23 May 2017 | UPDATED: 10:10 24 May 2017

Police officers lay flowers in tribute to the Manchester victims. PA Photo by Martin Rickett/PA

Police officers lay flowers in tribute to the Manchester victims. PA Photo by Martin Rickett/PA

More police on the streets of east London in the wake of the Manchester terrorist attack would reassure the public, the Mayor of Tower Hamlets urged this-evening.

Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs... 'Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Manchester after heartless and cowardly attack.' Picture: MIKE BROOKETower Hamlets mayor John Biggs... 'Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Manchester after heartless and cowardly attack.' Picture: MIKE BROOKE

John Biggs made a scathing condemnation on the “cowardly attack against innocent children” following last night’s suicide bombing in the foyer of Manchester Arena.

Children and teenagers at the end of a concert by the American singer Ariana Grande were coming out of the arena complex when the suicide bomber struck—killing 22 people including a girl aged just eight.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Manchester after last night’s heartless and cowardly attack,” the mayor said. “Nothing can ever justify the murder of innocent children.

Armed police next to an ambulance after a suspected terrorist attack at the Manchester Arena at the end of a concert by US star Ariana Grande. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA WireArmed police next to an ambulance after a suspected terrorist attack at the Manchester Arena at the end of a concert by US star Ariana Grande. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

“Londoners know the dreadful impact these attacks can have and we all stand in solidarity with the people of Manchester.”

East London has felt the devastation of terrorism in recent years, such as the 7/7 suicide bombings in 2005 including the attack on a Circle line train at Aldgate Underground station which killed seven people, the 1996 IRA bombing in Canary Wharf which killed two men and injured 50 other people and the bombing of St Ethelberga’s Church in Bishopsgate.

“It is only right that there is an increased police presence on our streets,” the Tower Hamlets mayor said today. “This would reassure and protect our community.

Police close to the Manchester Arena the morning after a suspected terrorist attack at the end of a concert by US star Ariana Grande left 22 dead. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA WirePolice close to the Manchester Arena the morning after a suspected terrorist attack at the end of a concert by US star Ariana Grande left 22 dead. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

“It is more important than ever that we stand shoulder to shoulder to show that these cowardly attacks will not divide us, nor do the attackers represent any race or religion.”

The Canary Wharf attack in 1996 was just three months before Manchester’s Arndale shopping centre was bombed that year, injuring 200 people.

Now a generation on, this latest Manchester atrocity brings danger back to the streets, with an appeal from Tower Hamlets Interfaith Forum not to target any one religion or ethnic group.

Tower Hamlets Interfaith Forum's chair, The Rev Alan Green, Rector of St John-on-Bethnal Green. Picture: MIKE BROOKETower Hamlets Interfaith Forum's chair, The Rev Alan Green, Rector of St John-on-Bethnal Green. Picture: MIKE BROOKE

Fr Alan Green, Rector of St John-on-Bethnal Green who chairs the interfaith forum, told the East London Advertiser: “This was another attack on innocent people–targeting young girls was appalling.

“But it’s important that we band together in the face of this dreadful attack on humanity. This is not a time to blame any one religious or cultural group.

“These attackers are sad people who don’t represent Islam. We all stand together in east London in the face of such atrocity and have to be vigilant.

Police and members of the public move floral tributes from St Annes Church to beside a statue in St Annes Square, Manchester, after the terror attack at Manchester Arena, 23rd May 2017. PA Photo by Martin Rickett/PAPolice and members of the public move floral tributes from St Annes Church to beside a statue in St Annes Square, Manchester, after the terror attack at Manchester Arena, 23rd May 2017. PA Photo by Martin Rickett/PA

“It’s important not to over-react and to preserve our open society.”

A garden party at Buckingham Palace attended by the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall observed a minute’s silence in memory of the victims of the Manchester attack.

The Queen earlier said in a message: “The whole nation has been shocked by the death and injury in Manchester last night of so many people, adults and children, who had just been enjoying a concert. My deepest sympathy to all who have been affected by this dreadful event.”

Flags were at half mast in public buildings across east London, including Stratford Old Town Hall and at local fire-stations. All party electioneering for next month’s general election was also suspended in respect for the victims.


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