London Adventist Youth
to March for Peace
eventh-day Adventist youth leaders in London said they would hold two peace rallies in mid-August, responding ongoing rampant looting, which began August 6 following a community protest of a police shooting.
The events, sponsored by the church's South England Conference, will be used to promote peace. Participants will distribute Peace pledge cards, which ask people to sign the cards to promote peace in their neighborhood.
CHURCH LEADER: Sam Davis is president of the Adventist Church's South England Conference. Here, he marches in a July 23 Adventist Pathfinder parade on London streets to promote peace one year ahead of the 2012 Olympics. [SEC file photo by Richard de Lisser]
Since the initial announcement, conference officials downgraded the size of the event for safety reasons. A mid-day statement said, "any outreach or community service should only be within members own areas, they should not travel across town, and only venture out under direct instruction from local church leadership who directly understand the situation."
Looting across numerous neighborhoods of London, and even in cities as far away Birmingham and Liverpool, continued to flare into the night of Monday, August 8, although an increased police presence has calmed the situation as of Adventist World’s press deadline.
The violence began Saturday night following a community protest of a police shooting in Tottenham. Local resident Mark Duggan was killed, and a police officer was shot, but not killed, in the incident, news agencies reported.
Tottenham, as well as other neighborhoods where violence first erupted, has often been associated with high unemployment and tensions with police. Copycat crimes soon swept across multiple neighborhoods and cities, the BBC reported.
The BBC reported that Prime Minister David Cameron returned from a vacation in Italy to address the situation.
"We are saddened by the events that have occurred in Tottenham," Sam Davis, president of the Adventist Church in South England, said. "The loss of Mark Duggan's life has mobilized many in the community to rightly ask for answers to what took place that led to this young man's loss of life. However, this can never justify the wanton violence and destruction of property, looting and vandalism that followed the protest."\
Davis said the conference's Youth and Community Ministries departments were willing to join the community in the cleanup operation and are already working in one affected area to assist displaced families.