Over 150 people in Blackheath joined an anti-racism and anti-Semitism rally organised by two local mothers looking to "make a stand" against recent "horrific" graffiti.

Councillors, children with placards, trade unions, parents and church groups from across Greenwich, Blackheath and Charlton turned up to the gathering on Sunday, February 2, one week after "sickening" anti-Semitic and racist graffiti appeared on a Barclays Bank and the Real Caribbean takeaway.

One day before Holocaust Memorial Day, the vandals painted graffiti containing swastikas, messages supporting white power and symbols depicting the Star of David were plastered on windows and brickwork in thick white paint.

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Local councillors and MPs were extremely quick to condemn and authorise the removal of the graffiti, but one mother wanted to some way to show the that community was ready to make a stand against this behaviour and show that "racists are not welcome in our community."

The mum, who did not want to be named, said she was "horrified" when she saw the two cases of graffiti online on the Sunday and said to some fellow parents "there must be something we can do."

The following morning she woke up to news of more offensive graffiti daubed on trees in the East Greenwich Pleasaunce public park, "we knew we had to do something."



So a group of the mums quickly planned an event to get everyone together and respond to the messages of hatred.

"It was a really positive response," the main organiser told the News Shopper. "People from all over the community ended up coming, it wasn't exactly a professional protest, but there was a clear sense of passion and togetherness.

"Our message is that racists are not welcome here, we will stand together against it."

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She said it was not an angry protest as they all supported the council's quick response, but they wanted to get together and show that "this isn't just an attack on the Jewish or West Indian communities, it is an attack on all of us."

"I don't want to be the figurehead, this is something the community must do together."

Cllr Ann Marie Cousins delivered a speech via megaphone at the 'community stand', quoting some of the children's home-made banners stating "Be Kind" and "We're all the same inside!"

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The Green Party's Victoria Rance said they had also invited all of its members to attend the stand against racist graffiti as "we agreed with the mothers on the importance of the community taking a a strong stand against racism in all its ugly forms."

The mum added: "I'm really pleased as I think as parents, we wanted to use the event as a lesson for our own children that these things happen, but there's always a positive action you can take to respond to it."