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Mayor of London backs Jamaican vigil

in UNITED KINGDOM, 22/06/2004

Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has spoken of his support for the planned remembrance vigil for the murdered Jamaican gay activist Brian Williamson.

The vigil, due to take place next Wednesday, is intended to mark Williamson's death last week as well as pressurise the Jamaican government into updating its stance on homosexuality, which is still a criminal offence on the Caribbean island.

"I am proud that London continues to lead the way in moving towards lesbian and gay equality, but as the murder of Brian Williamson shows, homophobia continues to have tragic consequences all over the world," he said yesterday.

Although he cannot attend the vigil, Lee Jasper is due to speak on his behalf, he added.

Livingstone also said the murder had refreshed how important it was to ensure homophobia is fought in our own country, and announced plans to ensure hate crimes are tackled across the capital city.

"I will be working closely with the Metropolitan Police over the next four years to ensure that new legislation relating to homophobic hate crime is fully implemented in London, and will do everything I can to encourage more Londoners to have confidence to report hate crime in the knowledge that it will be dealt with seriously and sensitively by the police," he said.

Livingstone will outline these plans and more when he appears at next month's London Pride events, where he will lead the parade and join other public figures at a rally in Trafalgar Square.

People from all communities are being urged to join the vigil for activist Brian Williamson outside the Jamaican High Commission, 1 Prince Consort Rd, London SW7, on Wednesday 23 June from 7-9pm

Ben Townley, Gay.com UK
Tuesday 22 June, 2004 12:16
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