‘TERRORISM will not beat the people of this nation and of this city’.
This is the message that will echo through Portsmouth’s city centre today as scores of community activists hit the streets in a ‘protest against extremism’.
Muslim, Catholic, Hindu and Sikh communities from across the area are expected to unite outside Guildhall in a show of solidarity with the victims of the Manchester bombing.
The rally will take place between midday and 1pm and has been organised by the city’s Bangladeshi community – but is open to people of all faiths and all walks of life.
Then, later on this evening, campaign group Stand Up To Racism Portsmouth will hold a vigil at Guildhall Square from 6.30pm in tribute to the victims of Monday’s atrocity.
Community activist Sumel Chowdhury, of North End, is helping to organise this afternoon’s gathering and is urging people to support it.
He said: ‘We love our land and love our country, but we don’t tolerate any kind of terrorist extremism.
‘We don’t want to see any people killing on the streets. We want to see love and respect for all people.
‘Terrorism has no place in our land. We want to protect our land and our children. We don’t have any sympathy for the terrorists. We are strong, they are losers.’
At about 12.15pm there will be a one-minute silence for the 22 people killed in the Manchester bombing.
Mr Chowdhury described the attack as ‘dreadful’. He said: ‘This attack is against all of us, against our way of life and our values; it’s against our lands and children.
‘The people of Portsmouth now need to join us and show solidarity for those in Manchester and protest against extremism.
‘People need to get out and stand together and say “no” to racism and “no” to terrorism. If we are together we are stronger. We will defeat the terrorists. They won’t beat us.’
He added his ‘thoughts and prayers’ went out to the victims in Manchester.
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