London hosts anti-racism concert ahead of local elections

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Sunday, April 30, 2006

Saturday saw London's Trafalgar Square play host to a 'Love Music Hate Racism' anti-racism concert, ahead of the local elections taking place this week. The event aimed to celebrate multi-racial society and to send out a message telling people to use their vote to stop the British National Party gaining council seats in the election.

The lineup of bands at the event included Belle & Sebastian and The Paddingtons, with speakers including Gurinder Chadha (director of Bend it like Beckham) and Kat Fletcher (NUS President).

Love Music Hate Racism was set up in 2002 in response to rising levels of racism and electoral successes for the British National Party, whose policies are often considered fascist and designed to provoke racism. The organisation has arranged over 200 events across the UK. The organisation is inspired by Rock Against Racism, a similar group set up in the 1970s to challenge the National Front, famed for gigs featuring The Clash and the Tom Robinson Band.

Fears that the BNP may do well in the elections this week have grown since Employment Minister Margaret Hodge warned MPs that the BNP might make gains. Since her announcement, the number of voters considering voting for the BNP has been shown to grow in some polls, prompting some to criticise her announcement as being potentially counter-productive.

Police estimate that 3,000 people attended the event on Saturday.

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