Last Saturday the need to remain resolute in the face of adversity, and unite against those that seek to divide us, was clearly illustrated. Approximately 500 pro peace demonstrators came out and stood united for peace, love and harmony – thus preventing the EDL from marching through the city.
There has been a frenzy of media coverage and of people sharing some of what took place on Saturday via social media. I stand firm in my message: love, not hate. Despite some of the images and footage circulating, the majority of counter-protesters were calm, peaceful and measured. However, on both sides there was an element which behaved in an incendiary manner, fuelling hatred. The police and the peaceful protesters did our city proud and I extend my thanks to them. There are obvious lessons to be learnt if we are to avoid further violent scenes and scrutiny is already underway.
Shockingly on the same day, news broke in the evening of a disturbing and vile incident in which a toddler was the deliberate target of a suspected acid attack. The world’s eyes watched. The City united in shock, horror and sympathy for the toddler and his mother. Truly the best of Worcester shone through and local political leaders are to be praised for their swift condemnation of these actions. I am grateful to the emergency services and swift police operation, which has resulted in five men being charged.
The heart, in its essence, needs and wants love, not hate. So, fill your hearts with kindness and gratitude, so that love can express itself. I pray for peace for this wonderful city and its residents – and am thankful for all the support it has received this week.