Bristol Peace Walk goes ahead in response to EDL march
Around 150 people from all faiths gathered at Queen Square today for a peace walk through the city to celebrate the diversity and multiculturalism of Bristol. The walk was planned as a response to the EDL march yesterday.
Flowers were handed out and a number of key note speakers including Simon Bale and Zaheer Shabir of The Bristol Multi-Faith Forum and Building the Bridge spoke about diversity and acceptance.
Mr Shabir said: “It's tremendously important to remind each other of our values...Yesterday was for people from respective positions and they had their moment. Today is another moment and we want to show that the aspiration of Bristol is to be united against hate.”
Amongst those gathered was Kate Cook who works for NHS Bristol: “I work with a lot of Muslim and Somali women and I wanted to come along today to show something different to the EDL march yesterday in a peaceful way.”
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Bill Drayton from Long Ashton said “We want to cleanse this area as we walk round and restore the peace and make a statement. Bristol is a friendly city – we have no animosity to those who were here yesterday but we want to show what Bristol is really about.”
Neil Maggs and his partner Luanda Cataldi from Easton brought their two children to the walk: “ I want to take a positive stance to the EDL march yesterday. The response by Unite was reactionary to the EDL. To my mind today is about celebrating differences. Bristol is very multi-cultural and yesterday did not represent Bristol.”
Organisers talked of the symbolism of the route they were walking leaving behind what the EDL stood for as they left Queen Square, crossing Pero's bridge, a symbol of transformation and rejection of slavery and into Millennium Square to symbolise the future.
As the walk reached Millennium Square hundreds of flowers were thrown into the water as a symbol of peace. “It's been very emotional” said Tom Peterson from Redland “I hope this shows that Bristol is about diversity and unity and the views of the EDL only reflect the minority of opinions in the city.”