Mayor condemns Brick Lane march a week late in media team mix-up

Anjem Choudary at he march against the drinking or sale of alcohol. Photo: David Mirzoeff

Anjem Choudary at he march against the drinking or sale of alcohol. Photo: David Mirzoeff - Credit: Archant

The mayor of Tower Hamlets sent out mixed-messages this week about a Muslim anti-alcohol march in Brick Lane.

The march on December 13 saw hate preacher Anjem Choudary call on Muslims in east London to stop drinking and selling alcohol.

Mayor Lutfur Rahman’s office issued a statement after the march which said: “We strongly believe in the right to free speech and association, and I am pleased that, with the police’s support, this group were able to exercise that right whilst upholding respect for our communities, which is the hallmark of our ‘No Place for Hate’ pledge.”

However, on Thursday the mayor’s office withdrew this statement, saying it had not been approved by the mayor.

In a note to the press, the mayor’s media team said: “For the record the statement was not authorised for release and had not been approved by mayor Lutfur Rahman.

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“That statement is formally withdrawn and internal processes have been reviewed.”

The note included a new comment from Mr Rahman on the march, a week after it took place, which read: “As part of our pledge to ‘No Place for Hate’, we oppose all groups that seek to impose their views on and bring division to our communities.

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“Council staff worked with the police to ensure that the businesses, residents and visitors on Brick Lane were protected during the demonstration.”

The mayor’s office declined to say why the first statement was withdrawn, or how it was released without the mayor’s approval.

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