Ken Livingstone has called on Londoners to take a stand against racism and join the campaign against racist attacks in Barking and Dagenham.
The borough has seen a number of racist incidents including violent assaults, stabbings and racial abuse. The most recent attack in the borough saw a 68-year old Sri Lankan man stabbed on 29 June.
Responding to community concerns, the Mayor’s Office has met with local residents, the race equality council, community organisations and trade unions in Barking & Dagenham to hear first hand the kinds of problems and racial harassment they have faced.
Lee Jasper, the Mayor’s Director for Equalities and Policing has also met with the Metropolitan Police Authority’s London Race Hate Crime Forum which has agreed to organise a meeting with council representatives to review the situation in the borough.
The Mayor’s call came as thousands of Londoners converge on Finsbury Park today (Saturday 8th July 2006) to make a stand against racism at the anti-racist music festival, ‘Rise: London United’.
Speaking today Mr Livingstone urged Londoners “to stand up against the pockets of racism that can still exist in our city – such as the recent vicious racist attacks we have seen in Barking and Dagenham” adding that all “Londoners have an interest in protecting the multicultural character of our city, which is central to the future success and prosperity of our city.”
Highlighting the fact that “racist attacks in London have now fallen every year for six years in London” the Mayor warned said it was essential that Londoners “redouble our efforts to stamp out racism”.
Speaking of London’s proud history of integration Mr Livingstone said “each successive generation that has come here has helped to shape the city we live in, bringing new skills, ideas and cultures that have made us into one of the most productive and exciting places on the planet.”
“The racists and fascists who threaten the character of our city stand against the interests of all Londoners, whatever race or creed.”