Ceremony marks 25 years after Brixton bomb

people pose for a photograph
Councillors and others gathered outside the Ritzy for a photograph with its message: ‘Love is stronger than hate’

Lambeth councillors, local MP Helen Hayes and London Assembly member Marina Ahmad today (17 April) gathered with others in Brixton to mark the anniversary of the bomb that exploded in Electric Avenue 25 years ago.

It was one of a series of three planted by an extreme right-winger hoping to spark a race war. Three people, one a pregnant woman, died in a blast at a pub in Soho on 30 April 1999 and many people were injured in the three blasts. The third came from a bomb planted in Brick Lane in East London on 24 April.

Among the people observing the anniversary was police officer Lance Edmondson, who was on duty in Brixton at the time of the blast.

Mark Healey, who would have been in the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho at the time of the fatal explosion if he had not been working late, has organised annual memorials at the three sites for many years.

people at an open air meeting
Mayor Sarbaz Barznji speaking in Electric Avenue

After he told the story once again and explained the aims of the anti-hate charity 17-24-30 National Hate Crime Awareness Week, he was presented with a Lambeth medal by mayor Sarbaz Barznji.

Earlier local MP Helen Hayes, who represents central Brixton, recalled hearing the explosion from her Brixton Hill flat.

She thanked Mark Healey for his years of work and warned that, while progress had been made in the 25 years since the attack, “it’s important that we remember, because we can never take progress, tolerance, acceptance, for granted. And we are living, as we all know, in very divided and divisive times in our country just now”.

man pins medal on another man
Council leader Claire Holland looks on as mayor Sarbaz Barznji presents Mark Healey with a medal

Lambeth council leader Claire Holland said: “Hate has no place in Britain, and hate has no place in our borough of Lambeth. Together, we are all working really hard with the store holders, with residents, fellow councillors, and community groups to ensure that we are a peaceful and cohesive community.”

Recounting the history of remembering the three attacks and others in London on gay people, Mark Healey said he had learned that “unless we’re attacked, we lose that motivation to stand up and to stay united. So we need to do more work to unite people to stand up.

“In 2012, what we decided to do was put the emphasis back on the government and local authorities, key partners, and communities to work together to tackle all forms of hate crime across the UK, and that’s when National Hate Crime Awareness Week was born.”

This year’s will be 12 to 19 October.

open air public meeting
LGBT Poet Laureate Trudy Howson reads a poem at the ceremony


  1. It is desperately sad that none of the actual people who were injured in this terrorist attack seem to have been invited to attend and share their stories.


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