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Heart-shaped messages of love replace race hate poster as police probe continues

PUBLISHED: 10:54 03 February 2020 | UPDATED: 16:53 03 February 2020

Heart-shaped messages outside Winchester Tower in Norwich. Picture: David Hannant

Heart-shaped messages outside Winchester Tower in Norwich. Picture: David Hannant

Archant

Scores of heart-shaped messages of love and support now stick proudly on the side of the Norwich tower block where a racist flier was posted on the day the United Kingdom left the European Union.

A host of heart-shaped messages have been stuck up outside Winchester Tower Picture: David HannantA host of heart-shaped messages have been stuck up outside Winchester Tower Picture: David Hannant

On Friday, posters were put up around Winchester Tower in Norwich under the heading 'Happy Brexit Day', ordering tenants to either speak English or move out.

It was swiftly removed, however, photographs of it soon circulated on social media - prompting a defiant reaction from other tower-dwellers and from further afield.

Now though, passers-by will not see messages of hate and intolerance. Instead, they will read welcoming words of love, support and tolerance.

Messages displayed include:

A host of heart-shaped messages have been stuck up outside Winchester Tower Tenant Poppy Rose and Egyptian business owner Salah El Nagar outside. Picture: David HannantA host of heart-shaped messages have been stuck up outside Winchester Tower Tenant Poppy Rose and Egyptian business owner Salah El Nagar outside. Picture: David Hannant

- In Norwich we proudly stand together

- Spread messages of love, not hate. You'll love yourself too, if you do

- We cling to memories as if they define us, but what we do defines us

- You are welcome here

A host of heart-shaped messages have been stuck up outside Winchester Tower. Picture: David HannantA host of heart-shaped messages have been stuck up outside Winchester Tower. Picture: David Hannant

- What makes Britain great? Kindness, tolerance, diversity.

- Not in my name

MORE: 'Everyone is welcome here' - Tenants hit back at racist poster

A host of heart-shaped messages have been stuck up outside Winchester Tower Picture: David HannantA host of heart-shaped messages have been stuck up outside Winchester Tower Picture: David Hannant

Poppy Rose, a 62-year-old tenant of the tower, said: "The response really does mean a lot to the people of this tower. It is extremely important that whoever did the first poster sees the effect it had.

"This is all about solidarity, standing together in the face of hate and showing people that we are a welcoming city and community."

Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham Usher, has joined those to condemn the original poster. He said: "I found the wording on the poster appalling and contrary to my experience of the city of Norwich as a place of welcome and care.

A host of heart-shaped messages have been stuck up outside Winchester Tower Picture: David HannantA host of heart-shaped messages have been stuck up outside Winchester Tower Picture: David Hannant

"Our national history is also one where people who have been persecuted and driven from their homes as refugees can make their home. "

Bishop Graham added: "Britain will only be 'Great' if it continues to show the values of tolerance, understanding and generosity to those who become our neighbours."

MORE: Protests held against 'Happy Brexit Day' poster

Salah El Nagar, an Egyptian business owner who has lived in Norwich for two years, said the poster was "awful".

He said: "Since I moved to Norwich while I have found it difficult to integrate and make friends, I have never encountered any direct racism towards me - but this letter is just awful.

"I have heard of other people suffering racial abuse, but it has never happened to me directly and I do really like Norwich. I've definitely had more happy experiences here than unhappy."

Meanwhile, Norfolk Constabulary has confirmed that enquiries are ongoing into the incident, with the original posters seized and forensic examinations being carried out on them.

A spokesman also confirmed that CCTV taken from the tower is also being investigated and urged anybody with information to contact police on 101 quoting reference 36/7964/20.

MORE: Nine things that really do represent our city following racist poster


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