Essex

Harlow murder: Hundreds gather to remember victim

Gathering in Harlow Image copyright BBC/Richard Smith
Image caption Hundreds of Poles from across England joined Harlow's residents for a vigil commemorating Arkadiusz Jozwik

Several hundred people - including Poles from across the UK - have gathered for a vigil commemorating a murdered Polish man.

Arkadiusz (Arek) Jozwik, 39, suffered head injuries in an attack in Harlow last Saturday and died on Monday.

Six teenagers have been arrested on suspicion of killing Mr Jozwik.

Co-organiser the Reverend Robert Findlay said Polish people had come to Harlow from places across the UK including Edinburgh, Leeds and London.

The crowd gathered at the scene of the fatal attack outside a pizza takeaway before speeches and prayers and a silent march to a church in the town.

Image copyright BBC/Richard Smith
Image caption The Reverend Robert Findlay, who helped organise the vigil and silent march, said he hoped the vigil might bring "comfort to the family and friends" or Mr Jozwik

"The purpose of the march is that we meet to honour Arek who has died," the Reverend Findlay said.

"We also pray that our gathering will bring comfort to the family and friends of Arek and beyond that we want to affirm to all Polish citizens that they are welcome here.

"It began as a local vigil but it has expanded nationally."

Image copyright BBC/Richard Smith
Image caption Wiktor Moszczynski said he was shocked at the death of Mr Woznik

Polish activist Wiktor Moszczynski travelled to Harlow from London.

"I was obviously shocked by what happened," he said. "I wanted to express my solidarity with the Polish people of Harlow who obviously must be feeling vulnerable at the moment."

He said people of Polish descent - especially children born in the UK - needed to feel secure in the UK.

Image copyright BBC/Richard Smith
Image caption Augustyn Smolilo is from southern Poland and said he wanted to show solidarity with fellow Poles

Food factory worker Augustyn Smolilo, who is from the south of Poland and lives in London, said: "I came to support Arek's family and to show my and our solidarity because that's the tragedy that we must speak about this, we must do something to let other people know that this kind of behaviour cannot be tolerated and we are not going to tolerate this.

"This murder is just an example of things that happen all the time, that Polish people are abused just because of their origin.

"Like everywhere, there are good people and other people who do not respect other nationalities and people who came here to make a living."

Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Mr Jozwik's family have said he loved spending time with his relatives

Essex Police has warned against labelling the killing of Mr Jozwik as a "hate crime" but has confirmed his nationality was a line of inquiry in its investigation.

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