Nigerian community marches in 'solidarity' as Greenwich leaves tributes to murdered soldier Lee Rigby

Union and St George's flags draped among flowers, along with Manchester United football shirts

David Mercer
Saturday 25 May 2013 14:43 BST
Flowers and tributes left at the site of Lee Rigby's murder in Woolwich
Flowers and tributes left at the site of Lee Rigby's murder in Woolwich (EPA)

Touching tributes continued to be paid to Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich today, as the community stood united in condemning the soldier's brutal death.

A steady stream of well-wishers added to the hundreds of flowers left at the corner of John Wilson Street, where three days earlier the 25-year-old father-of-one was hacked to death by two suspected terrorists.

In one heartfelt tribute, a picture of Drummer Rigby with his son Jack was pinned to the railings, with the caption "Daddy and his little soldier! R.I.P Lee".

Union and St George's flags were draped among the flowers, while a number of Manchester United football shirts were on display to recognise Drummer Rigby's lifelong support of the club.

Emotions were clearly still raw when a young woman broke down in tears as she arrived to see the mass of floral tributes.

The woman, wearing a green hoodie, sobbed and wiped tears from her eyes with a tissue as she read messages of condolence left for Drummer Rigby.

She was surrounded by more than a dozen friends and family members, many of whom appeared visibly upset.

The group left the scene after about 10 minutes without speaking to members of the press and walked towards Woolwich town centre.

Nigerian Kanbi Ojelade, 50, was among those paying their respects today, along with his two sons, Umran, 10, and Feranmi, 11, who both live in Woolwich.

Mr Ojelade, who lives in Colchester, said: "I brought them here to realise people are responsible for their freedom, safety, their welfare and development.

"The ultimate price anyone can pay is to give his life for others."

Royal British Legion member Charles Clayton, 66, said he believed the Government could have done more to identify the terror suspects earlier.

"He shouldn't be forgotten," Mr Clayton said.

"It demonstrates the society we now live in. I blame the Government for allowing this to go unchecked which puts us all at risk."

Scores of motorcyclists supporting the Help For Heroes charity rode past the scene this afternoon in a show of support for Drummer Rigby's family.

A heavy police presence remained in Woolwich amid heightened fears of further attacks and an increase in anti-Muslim incidents following Drummer Rigby's death.

A "solidarity march" by the Nigerian community took place this morning from Plumstead station to Woolwich town centre.

A steady flow of people arrived to lay flowers at the corner of John Wilson Street and Artillery Place, a few hundreds yards from the entrance to the barracks.

A book of condolence has also been opened at Woolwich Town Hall, where opening hours will be extended over the bank holiday weekend to allow the public to pay their respects.

Drummer Rigby was hit by a car and then attacked with weapons including a knife and a meat cleaver but the cause of his death was not confirmed by a post-mortem examination. An inquest is due to be opened, Scotland Yard said.

Among those paying their respects yesterday was British National Party (BNP) leader Nick Griffin, who claimed he had gone for personal rather than political reasons.

Mr Griffin's visit was criticised as "provocative" by Akbar Khan, chairman of the anti-racist and community development organisation Building Bridges.

He said: "It is a provocative action by Nick Griffin, the BNP leader, to go to the place where this young soldier was murdered. All Muslims have come out and condemned this act of violence.

"Given the serene and sad atmosphere prevailing in the country, because of this person's death, he is being very cynical and exploiting the raw nerves for his benefit, and we say it is just and fair that there should be no politics over dead bodies.

"Whoever is involved in this kind of activity needs to look very carefully at what that person is doing.

"We need to be calm and deal with it in a mature and responsible manner."

Drummer Rigby's murder has provoked a backlash of anger across the country, with many incidents of mosques being attacked, racial abuse and comments made on social media.

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