Local papers back rallies for peace

By Sarah Lagan

Regional newspapers supported multifaith peace rallies held at the
weekend in the wake of the London tube and bus bombings. The rallies
were held in some of the country’s most culturally diverse cities –
Birmingham, Leicester and Bradford.

The Birmingham Evening Mail backed a rally attended by about 1,000
people in the city’s Chamberlain Square. Mail staff joined Midlanders
of all faiths and races and held up placards printed by the paper with
the words “United for Peace”.

The paper covered the rally on its
front page and followed it up with a double-page spread. Editor Steve
Dyson said: “This was our chance to stand up for what we believe is
right and make a difference. The Mail must always take part in
supporting important initiatives such as this.” 

City MP Khalid Mahmood joined politicians and religious leaders in backing the rally.

In Leicester, a 1,000-strong crowd gathered in the city’s Victoria Park.

The Leicester Mercury printed placards proclaiming “Leicester People United” and “Leicester United: One City, One Community” and produced a special late edition to cover the events.

The
newspaper was praised by speakers for its work to promote positive
relations between faiths and cultures as well as its front-page appeal
to unite communities.

Editor Nick Carter said: “This reflects
what we have been trying to do in Leicester for some time – to
represent readers from all communities.

When there is
confrontation, we want to get members of the public, the media and
emergency services to talk to one another so that everyone is informed.”

The
Telegraph & Argus in Bradford reported on a large gathering at the
city’s Centenary Square, where the city’s cultural leaders, including
the Bishop of Bradford, made speeches.

The paper covered the event on its front page with the headline: “Don’t let terror divide us”, supported by a leader column.

Editor
Perry Austin-Clarke said: “It was a great event, promoting harmony and
cohesion, and allowed the community to stand together to defy the
bombers.”

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