London: Low turnout for hate crime vigil

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Organisers of Saturday’s London Vigil against Hate Crime say they were left disappointed at the low turnout but believe it was still a success.

Around 1,000 people took part in last weekend’s annual memorial in Trafalgar Square, despite poor weather and transport issues caused by the capital’s large-scale anti-cuts rally.

Letters of support for the vigil were received from David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband, London Mayor Boris Johnson and TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber.

Mark Healey, from the 17-24-30 No To Hate Crime campaign group said:

“I was disappointed with the relatively low turnout this year but think that a lot of people were put off by the extremely poor weather and difficulties getting into town. However, I think we put on a good show and my thanks goes out to those who stayed for the duration of the evening.”

Mr Healey said highlights included performances from the L-Project and the London Gay Symphonic Orchestra along with powerful speeches from a variety of LGBT and disability activists.

The vigil took place for the first time in 2009, following the homophobic killing of Ian Baynham in Trafalgar Square.

An estimated 10,000 attended the event in that year, although numbers have since fallen.

Last week, the UK staged its first-ever Hate Criminal Awareness Week, with an Act of Remembrance at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Over the weekend, vigils also took place in Brighton, Ipswich, Plymouth and Reading.