London Citizens protest marchers converge on Tower Bridge for City Hall rally on race hate
PUBLISHED: 11:22 01 August 2016 | UPDATED: 15:17 01 August 2016
Hundreds of demonstrators converged on Tower Bridge to march to City Hall for a rally against the rise in race hate incidents following the EU exit referendum.
Members of the London Citizens alliance held two marches from Whitechapel in London’s East End and from Bermondsey the other side of the river, meeting on the iconic landmark bridge.
The rally nearby was aimed at urging the public to report all incidents so that police are more aware of what is happening on the streets.
It was supported by Tower Hamlets and other local authorities in the wake of concerns by minority communities feeling the pinch of prejudice in everyday life.
“We must be vigilant because there is no place for hate or intolerance in London,” Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs told yesterday’s rally.
“Beware of unprincipled politicians who lead you towards ideas that it would be ‘nice if there weren’t so many foreign workers’—then step by step lead you towards intolerance and hate.”
The rally was organised as a “show of solidarity” by the London Citizens alliance which was first set up in Whitechapel 20 year ago in an area of traditional immigration.
The City Hall rally was under the banner of ‘No Place for Hate’—a phrase that first appeared in the East End to combat the EDF when it tried to march through Whitechapel in 2011 and was stopped by the-then Home Secretary Theresa May.
Rally organiser Neil Jameson, the founder who set up London Citizens in 1996, told the East London Advertiser: “The EU referendum has opened a can of worms as some people feel they now have ‘permission’ to say things they wouldn’t before.
“There has been a terrible spate of racist incidents since the exit referendum which we are trying to see off.
“Even one of our own staff was abused coming from Whitechapel station and told to ‘go home’—she was born here. It was very stressful for her.”
The surge in reported incidents showed 6,000 alleged hate crimes in the four weeks since June 16 EU vote, rally organisers point out.
The rally was led by the Priest in Charge at St George’s-in-the-East at Shadwell, Angus Ritchie, who said: “There is a rise in race hate after the Referendum.
“One mother told us she was afraid to take her children to the Whitechapel Mosque school because of Right Wing demonstrators outside. Some intolerant people now feel more emboldened to make life unpleasant for their neighbours.”
This rally follows new Home Secretary Amber Rudd’s announcement last week of a new Hate Crime Action Plan for places of worship and better education in schools, which was welcomed by London Citizens.