This post was first published by Croydon Advertiser on 08/04/2017.
Campaigners march through Croydon town centre in solidarity after asylum seeker attack
More than 100 people joined a solidarity march in Croydon town centre on Saturday following the attack last week on a young asylum seeker in Croydon.
The event, organised by Stand Up To Racism, saw participants march from outside Marks & Spencer in North End, down the High Street to Exchange Square holding placards and chanting “say it loud say it clear – refugees are welcome here”.
This follows the attack on Rekar Ahmed, a Kurdish-Iranian asylum seeker living in Croydon, in which he was seriously injured on March 31.
Police are treating the attack as a suspected hate crime.
Dilshad, 21, told the Advertiser how he visited Rekar in hospital this week and how he is still suffering as a result of the attack.
He said: “I’ve visited Rekar in hospital and told him to look after himself.
“I’ve been having dizziness and I can’t sleep.”
The march through Croydon on Saturday
Weyman Bennett, from Stand Up To Racism, said the march was an “act of solidarity” for Rekar.
He said: “We want it to be clear that the majority of people reject such attacks and therefore we have to stand in unity.
“We’ve been met with an overwhelming sense of support and solidarity [from residents] and from the leading politicians as well saying they want unity.
“In Croydon it’s a very mixed community and it’s always going to be and we have to make sure these divisions are stopped early on and not representative at all.”
Zinar Demeni, a member of London’s Kurdish community, told the crowds about his visit to see Rekar in hospital last week and described how he was struggling to stand up at the side of his hospital bed.
Patsy Cummings, from Croydon Assembly, read out a statement on behalf of the Bishop of Croydon Jonathan Clark in Exchange Square.
His statement said the attack had “no place anywhere, and certainly no place in Croydon”.
“This is not who we are, this is not what our community is like,” it added.
Other speeches were also made including from Paula Peters, from Croydon Disabled People Against Cuts.
Thirteen people have been charged in connection with the attack.