Letter: Angry and restrained voices in the campaign against racism

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The Independent Online
Sir: It seems clear from your report 'Trotskyists blamed for race protest violence' (10 May) that last Saturday's demonstration purported to be in support of justice in the wake of Stephen Lawrence's murder went horribly wrong. My experience in racist matters over many years - dating from the Notting Hill race riots in the late Fifties - has been that this is the kind of thing that provokes a counter-productive reaction.

There are those of us who, in the teeth of injustice and pain, struggle daily to promote racial justice and to salvage a degree of dignity for our cause by responsible representation to the relevant authorities, and engage in the kind of propagation that attracts constructive support and sympathy. Last Saturday's event was not the way to do it.

Black people must not allow themselves or the nature of their struggle to be hijacked by political opportunists - whoever they are, or however well their intentions appear to be. The Lawrences were quite right to have nothing to do with activities that can only make a bad situation worse. There are those of us in the black community who are sick and tired and resentful of political rhetoric and nothingness.

Yours sincerely,

IVAN WEEKES

Secretary

Committee for Racial Justice

The Methodist Church

London, SW1

11 May

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