CANCELLED: An incident at City Hall forced organisers to cancel the annual event remembering victims of the transatlantic slave trade
AN EVENT organised to remember the victims of the transatlantic slave trade was cancelled after a suspected fire at City Hall last night.
Four fire engines and around 15 firefighters attended the scene around 6pm yesterday.
Guests and City Hall staff were evacuated from the building and gathered outside hoping that the incident would be resolved and the event would continue. However, the building was not deemed safe to re-enter and the annual service was called off.
INCIDENT: People gather outside City Hall after being evacuated due to a suspected fire
Historian David Olusoga, calypso musician Tobago Crusoe and actress and singer Michelle Gayle were all due to appear at the event, which was set to be hosted by Dr Michelle Asantewa.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has thanked the London Fire Brigade for its rapid response and said that the remembrance service will be rearranged for another date.
“Thank you @LondonFire for your swift response to tonight’s suspected fire at City Hall.
“Tonight’s annual service to commemorate the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade will now be rescheduled – thank you to all attendees for your patience and understanding,” he tweeted.
TRIBUTE: Children from the AkomaAsa performed outside City Hall after the event was called off
It is not known if the rescheduled event will take place before UNESCO’s International Day of Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, which takes place this Friday (August 23).
Smoke and a strong smell was coming from inside the building but a City Hall spokesman would not confirm whether or not there had been a fire but said firefighters were investigating.
Determined not to let the unfortunate incident ruin the evening completely, children from the AkomaAsa Performing Arts Academy, who were part of the evening’s programme, performed briefly outside and some guests stayed to watch and remember their ancestors.