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Saturday, April 24, 1999 Published at 11:47 GMT 12:47 UK


Life goes on at bombed market

Trade at the Brixton market has dipped because of shoppers' fears

Traders at the Electric Avenue market in Brixton, south London, went back to work on Saturday as police prepared to hold a reconstruction of last week's nail bomb attack.

The BBC's Andrew Bomford speaks to traders who have gone back a week after the blast
Kelly Pander, who suffered a gashed leg when a wooden pole fell on him when the bomb went off, said: "It doesn't worry me that it could happen again.

"But business has been badly hit because people are scared to come here."

[ image: The reconstruction will be outside this Iceland branch]
The reconstruction will be outside this Iceland branch
He said: "I wish there were more police around but I understand that they haven't got the resources."

Meanwhile negotiations are going on between community leaders and anti-racist demonstrators in the hope of postponing a mass protest which police fear might undermine the value of the reconstruction.

Police criticised

The Anti-Nazi League (ANL) is organising the protest at what it sees as a poor police response to the attack in which 39 people were injured.

The organisation claims the police took too long to recognise it as a racist attack.

[ image: Alice Mundle:
Alice Mundle: "The protest is unhelpful"
But Arlene Mundle, of the Lambeth Police Consultative Group, says the planned demonstration could ruin the police reconstruction of the attack.

"Organisations cannot simply parachute into Brixton having no consideration for the wishes of the community - which is to assist the police in catching the perpetrators of this heinous crime," she said.

The protesters plan to assemble at Brixton tube station at 1700 BST as police reconstruct last week's events outside the neighbouring Iceland supermarket.

[ image: The ANL's Claire Dissington:
The ANL's Claire Dissington: "We won't mess up the reconstruction"
ANL spokeswoman Claire Dissington said protesters had no intention of disrupting the reconstruction.

Bus passengers targeted

The reconstruction is aimed at those who only use the market at weekends, and passengers on a 159 Routemaster bus which broke down nearby at the time of the blast at 1726 BST.

On Friday, police confirmed that the broken-down bus had obscured the best CCTV footage of the area.

Detectives believe the bomber may have been on board the vehicle en route to another part of London to lay the device.

Police are anxious to reassure Brixton's large black community that everything is being done to solve the attack, particularly in light of the Stephen Lawrence inquiry.

[ image: A stalled 159 bus blocked CCTV footage]
A stalled 159 bus blocked CCTV footage
Extra officers have been drafted in to patrol the area, and police have promised that third parties can mediate between investigating officers and those with information.

'Culture of denial' But Lee Jasper of the National Assembly Against Racism criticised a "culture of denial" which he said had hindered police in blaming the attack on racists until Friday.

"Even (Home Secretary) Jack Straw, who should be most familiar with the Lawrence report, denied the motive was racism," he said.

Anyone with information about the attack should call the Metropolitan Police on 0800 789321.

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