'There's no space for racism' - rally held in response to racist stickers
PUBLISHED: 16:04 08 February 2020 | UPDATED: 17:35 08 February 2020
A protest held in response to the racist stickers posted around Ipswich drew more than a hundred supporters to the town centre.
The Stand Up To Racism event, organised by Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality (ISCRE), was held in the Cornhill for several hours from Saturday lunchtime.
Phanuel Mutumburi, business and operations director at ISCRE, said the rally was arranged to demonstrate that the views posted on the stickers were not reflective of wider society.
Mr Mutumburi said: "After we saw the incident involving the stickers we had many people approach us saying that they don't agree.
"We organised the event to show support.
"Our message to whoever put the stickers up is that you are in the small minority.
"Your views are not reflective of the community."
Stickers bearing racially-toned messages began appearing in Ipswich last week, including on bus stops and lampposts.
They prompted a response from Suffolk Constabulary, which launched an investigation and said it would be working with Ipswich Borough Council to remove them.
Some residents took matters into their own hands - by erasing words on the stickers and rewriting them to have a more sensitive meaning.
Ipswich MP Tom Hunt condemned the stickers, describing them as "very sinister" and said it was disappointing that some people were seeking to sow division.
Many stickers bore the name of Hundred-Handers, a group which has posted stickers around other towns and cities in the UK, including Hull and York.
Saturday's rally saw many activists give speeches condemning those who put up the stickers, with supporters taking up a large presence on the Cornhill.
Suffolk politicians, including Labour's Alasdair Ross and Glen Chisholm, were also present to show their solidarity.
Sue Wardell, business development manager at ISCRE, said: "It was incredibly encouraging to see so many people here.
"What is more encouraging is that we only organised the event a few days ago. The response on social media has been amazing.
"We're very much a conduit for voices in the community.
"I don't really understand what the people who put the stickers up were trying to tell us. Suffolk is a very friendly place.
"We're here to show there is no space for racism in Ipswich and in Suffolk."