An estimated 1000 people gathered on Monday night in Altab Ali Park in Whitechapel to take part in a celebration for Martyr’s Day.
The event, organized by Tower Hamlets Council and the Kendriro Shaheed Minar Committee, marked the 60th anniversary of the protests in Bangladesh that led to an official recognition of the Bengali language.
Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman said: “Martyrs’ Day is important as it reminds us of the sacrifices made by Bangladeshis for justice and the right to speak Bengali.”
Members of the Bangladeshi community gathered at midnight to pay their respects to those who lost their lives in Bangladesh as part of the 21st of February 1952 protests. To the sound of chanting, they proceeded to lay wreaths at the newly revamped Kendrio Shaheed Minar monument, a replica of the original in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Ruby Hoque, 40, a schoolteacher from Redbridge representing the Socialist Party of Bangladesh took part in the ceremony. She said: “It feels great being here. We are so proud and happy to be able to do this”.
Mufid Ahmed, 42, a solicitor from Kingston who had travelled from Kingston to witness the celebration for the first time said: ”This is such an important event for the community, and it is good to see both social, cultural and political organizations represented here tonight.
The event is one of a series taking place this week. Idea Store in Whitechapel will host cultural celebrations this weekend, for more information click here.