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RACIST KILLING: Is racism on the increase in city proud of its tolerance.

THE murder of Anthony Walker is thought to be the first race-hate killing on Merseyside since the 1987 murder of student Roland Carmignole in Liverpool city centre.

But is it indicative of a wider trend towards racism in a city which has long been justly proud of its multi-cultural roots, echoed in the World in One City theme for Liverpool's successful Capital of Culture bid?

Although Toxteth was affected by the wave of riots that swept through Britain's inner cities in the early 1980s, Liverpool has not suffered the sort of racial tensions that have afflicted other northern towns in recent years.

Racist attacks come under the umbrella of 'hate crimes' in terms of how they are classified by the police.

This also includes other categories such as homophobic attacks Police figures reveal that between April and July this year, there were 421 hate crimes in Merseyside compared with 442 in the same period last year.

That is a 4.75% decrease. Although candidates from the far-right British National Party have stood in both local and general elections in Merseyside, their results have always been derisory.

In Knowsley North & Sefton East, the only Merseyside constituency in which the BNP stood in this year's general election, their candidate came bottom of the poll with just 872 votes. The Merseyside Coalition Against Racism and Fascism yesterday controversially claimed recent events, particularly the London bombings, had increased the level of racism and intolerance.

In a statement, spokesman Alec McFadden said: 'Merseyside has been proud of its recent anti-racist record and the fact that the BNP has never gained a foothold in Merseyside.

'The Coalition Against Racism and Fascism will redouble its efforts to combat the racists in Merseyside and will work with any organisations and people who oppose racism in any form.

'Racism is now very much alive and kicking and we need to tackle both the causes and effects of it
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 2, 2005
Words:319
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