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London remembers 20th anniversary of the nail-bombing hate crimes of 1999

PUBLISHED: 11:09 29 April 2019 | UPDATED: 11:26 29 April 2019

Wreckage of a Ford Sierra at the scene of the nail bombing in Brick Lane on April 24, 1999. Picture: PA Archives

Wreckage of a Ford Sierra at the scene of the nail bombing in Brick Lane on April 24, 1999. Picture: PA Archives

PA Archive/PA Images

The third of three memorial ceremonies takes place tomorrow marking the 20th anniversary of the London 'nail bomb' attacks in Brick Lane, Brixton and Soho in which three people died and 140 were injured.

Plaque in Brick Lane to mark 20th anniversary of nail bombing when six people were injured in April 1999. Picture: Kois Miah/LBTHPlaque in Brick Lane to mark 20th anniversary of nail bombing when six people were injured in April 1999. Picture: Kois Miah/LBTH

It takes place in Soho, scene of the worst attack in April 1999, following last week's memorial unveiling in Brick Lane and the first service in Brixton, at the location on the actual 20th anniversary date of each atrocity.

Candles were held at the second ceremony in Brick Lane as poet Trudy Howson read a work to celebrate unity and 'inclusivity', to remember the six injured when a home-made device packed with 1,500 four-inch nails was detonated.

A plaque was inveiled by Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs, who was a councillor at the time of the 1999 attack.

“I remember the feeling of shock and fear it caused in our community,” he recalled. “The recent history of our area sits on top of its historic role in welcoming to London people from elsewhere. This role is why Brick Lane was targeted.

Uveiling ceremony of plaque by Mayor John Biggs at 20th anniversary of Brick Lane nail bombing incident. Picture: Kois Miah/LBTHUveiling ceremony of plaque by Mayor John Biggs at 20th anniversary of Brick Lane nail bombing incident. Picture: Kois Miah/LBTH

“Our record in the East End is one of resilience against those that wish to divide us by hate.”

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The London nail bombings were carried out ,one after another, over three weekends targeting mainly gay venues and the Black and Asian communities.

The worst attack was on the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho where three people died, including a pregnant woman, and 79 others were injured. It had followed the six injured in the Brick Lane attack the week before and the 47 injured in Brixton in the first attack.

Home secretary in 1999 Jack Straw with the then-Bethnal Green and Bow MP Oona King visiting the scene of the bombing. Picture: PA ArchivesHome secretary in 1999 Jack Straw with the then-Bethnal Green and Bow MP Oona King visiting the scene of the bombing. Picture: PA Archives

'Hate Crime Awareness' week founder Mark Healey, who joined the mayor for the Brick Lane memorial unveiling, said: “These small acts of remembrance show that we haven't forgotten the evil acts. They are a chance to remember those we lost and to stand in solidarity with those who survived.

“We have to make sure we educate future generations to build cohesion and work together to prevent further acts of hatred targeted against our communities.”

The organisers of the remembrance ceremonies to those killed in 1999 also plan a national 'Hate Crime Awareness' week in October, supported by the Met Police.

Remembering the Brick Lane bombing 20 years on

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