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'March against racism' in Canterbury city centre attended by hundreds

By Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Hundreds of people descended upon the streets of Canterbury for a so-called "march against racism".

The event was organised by city residents in the wake of a suspected gang attack that has left a young German exchange student fighting for his life in hospital.

The 17-year-old, who is of Lebanese descent, was attacked in Rose Lane, Whitefriars, on Thursday evening.

The community comes out in force after attack

He is understood to remain in a critical condition and is believed to be in a coma, after the assault.

Seven people - including six teenagers - have so far been arrested. But none have been charged with any offences.

The attack has shaken Canterbury - and has been condemned by MP Rosie Duffield, who branded it a "a horrific and shameful stain on our usually very peaceful city".

Protestors marching on Canterbury (12248804)
Protestors marching on Canterbury (12248804)

This evening, the "march against racism" saw hundreds of people gather at Westgate Towers, before marching along the High Street to Whitefriars.

Along the way, they chanted slogans such as "say it loud, say it clear - don't give in to racist fear".

Protestors marching on Canterbury (12248797)
Protestors marching on Canterbury (12248797)

Signs and banners bore phrases including "stand up to racism", "smash fascism and racism" and "stop racist attacks - unite and fight".

Representatives from Canterbury Mosque, Kent Refugee Help and Canterbury & Whitstable Labour were among those present.

The victim of Thursday's attack - who had been due to fly back to Germany the following day, was airlifted to a London hospital on Thursday.

His mother, who moved to Europe three decades ago, is now at his bedside after Canterbury MP Rosie Duffield called on Home Secretary Sajid Javid to allocate an emergency visa.

Representatives from Canterbury Mosque march along the high street
Representatives from Canterbury Mosque march along the high street
Jemima Brown with son Laurie Stephenson, and their homemade banner (12248763)
Jemima Brown with son Laurie Stephenson, and their homemade banner (12248763)
The assault happened in Whitefriars on Thursday evening
The assault happened in Whitefriars on Thursday evening

Flowers have been left at the scene of the attack, with a message from the city's Tesco Metro staff naming the teenager - a German boy of Lebanese descent - as 'Daniel'.

A crowdfunder launched to raise money for the relatives surpassed its £5,000 target in the 24 hours after it was set up - and has now reached more than £8,500.

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