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Wednesday, April 28, 1999 Published at 06:14 GMT 07:14 UK

UK Politics

Straw praises locals after bomb

Home Secretary Jack Straw: "There is no future in evil and race hatred"

Home Secretary Jack Straw has praised locals and police during a visit to Brick Lane, the scene of Saturday's racist nail bomb blast.

Mr Straw said that both police and locals deserved every tribute and called on people not to be intimidated into changing their way of life by the threat of further attacks.

The BBC's Reeta Chakrabarti: Straw warned people to remain vigilant
Meanwhile, community representatives from the two areas of London targeted by racist bomb attacks have called on the government to ban extreme right-wing groups.

They said they considered the explosions at Brixton and Brick Lane to be part of a campaign against the UK's ethnic minorities.

Speaking after a meeting in Brixton, the Secretary of the National Black Alliance, Lee Jasper, said the group or groups behind the attacks should be treated in the same way as outlawed organisations like the IRA.

Fears of fresh attacks

The chairman of the National Assembly Against Racism, Kumar Murshid, said there should be no place in a civilised society for groups like Combat 18, who are among four neo-Nazi organistations claiming a part in the bombings.

A spokesman for the Jewish Council for Racial Equality, Richard Stone, who was an advisor to the Stephen Lawrence murder inquiry, said any right to free speech should be balanced by the right of people not to suffer intimidation.

Shops in Brick Lane have already put up the "Business as usual signs" as fears mount of fresh attacks in the area. The most likely target could be the Bangladeshi New Year festival, scheduled for Brick Lane in a fortnight.

Mr Straw first visited the local police station directly opposite where the bomb exploded on Saturday. The station was shut on Saturday due to police manpower shortages.

'No future in race hatred'

He met local MP, Oona King, who has herself received threats from the White Wolves, a group thought to be linked with the latest racist bomb attacks.

Also there to witness the on-going work to repair the damage from Saturday's blast with Mr Straw were members of the local Tower Hamlets Council.

They showed him the damage caused by the blast, which went off inside a car near the local market.

After talking to people from the area, the home secretary declared: "There is no future in evil and race hatred."

Mr Straw said he was looking into allegations made in the House of Lords on Monday night that some peers had received racially-motivated threats.

He also paid tribute to the emergency services who responded to the Brick Lane bombing and urged anyone with information on the crime to contact police.

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