Norwich City Council leaders send message of support over hate crimes
- Credit: SIMON FINLAY
A strong message that hate crime in Norwich is not acceptable has been sent by city leaders, in the wake of the attack on a Romanian shop.
The Village Shop in Magdalen Street was the subject of an arson attack earlier this month.
While police have said they are keeping an 'open mind' over whether that crime was racially motivated, the attack led to an outpouring of support for the shop owners and staff.
While Norfolk police have not seen a significant increase in hate crime, evidence from other parts of the country showed in increase following the vote to leave the European Union.
And, at a meeting of Norwich City Council tonight, councillors passed a motion to show the city, which was unique in Norfolk in voting to remain in the EU, stands by those migrants who have made it their home.
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Put forward by Liberal Democrat Judith Lubbock, the motion called for the council to:
• Speak out against division and expressions of hatred and stand together against intolerance and discrimination
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• Work with partners to reassure residents from diverse communities that they are safe and welcome in Norwich.
Mrs Lubbock accused then UKIP leader Nigel Farage and newly appointed foreign secretary Boris Johnson of 'inciting racial violence' in the run-up to the debate.
She said: 'We should treasure the reputation of Norwich as a place where supporters have been welcomed for centuries.'
But she said those who voted to exit should not be 'dismissed as racists' and that it was crucial to talk to them about what prompted their decision.
Labour's Paul Kendrick said: 'There are members of our community who are fearful of what the future holds for them.'
The motion was passed unanimously.
A Labour motion that the council agree Norwich would be stronger, economically politically and socially, as a partner within the European Union, was also passed.
That motion also reaffirmed the city's commitment to honouring and strengthening its links to European twin cities - Rouen, Koblenz and Novi Sad.