14 June 2017

Arrests for Alleged Racial Hate Crimes After a ‘March for Peace’

Three people have been arrested for an alleged racial hate crime following a peace march in Exeter last Saturday.

Hundreds of people attended the march, which was intended to show solidarity with victims of terrorism in Manchester and London. They walked through the streets, displaying placards against extremism, before holding a peaceful vigil in Bedford Square.

People clutched banners displaying positive messages of hope such as ‘Don’t let the racists divide us’, ‘Unity against division’ and ‘Celebrating diverse communities’.

By all accounts, the event showed the community coming together and it seemed that everyone went home with the sense that something positive had been achieved. In fact, the day was hailed a success by community leaders who said it had been ‘a show of support for diversity in the city’.

Sounds promising, right? Well, it didn’t all go quite to plan. Local police have confirmed that after the march had finished three people in attendance went to the mosque on nearby York Road and proceeded to verbally abuse the worshippers inside.

A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said: “Police were notified to an alleged racially aggravated public order offence outside the Islamic Centre in Exeter on Saturday, June 10.

“The incident occurred around 8.30pm just after a peace walk and vigil in Bedford Square, Exeter, which had been arranged by Exeter Mosque.

“Shortly after the vigil, three men attended Exeter mosque and allegedly made racially aggravated verbally abusive comments to those within.

“A 31-year-old man, a 26-year-old and a 24-year-old were arrested on suspicion of public order offences and have been released under investigation pending further enquiries.”

The march was organised in response to the recent terrorism-related tragedies that occurred in Manchester and London.

Those involved in the event marched from 18:00 and their vigil concluded around 19:30. Flowers were laid down and participants reflected upon those people who had lost their lives in the devastating atrocities. Speakers, including the lord mayor and representatives from the local mosques, were then welcomed to address the respectful crowd.


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