BY CALUM FRASER
Town hall chiefs have released a statement saying they are not planning to remove an unauthorised Lee Rigby memorial this week.
An unofficial flagstone memorial was installed at the site in Woolwich where fusilier Lee Rigby was butchered by Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale in a terrorist attack in May 2013.
Rumours circulated on social media that Greenwich council was going to remove the stone and a petition was set up opposing the action, receiving more than 11,000 signatures in two days.
Council leader Danny Thorpe said: “We installed a permanent local memorial to Fusilier Lee Rigby in 2015 in accordance with the wishes of his family and the families of other soldiers and civilians who had died as a result of conflict.
“That memorial is at St George’s Garrison Church in Woolwich, opposite Woolwich Barracks, in a serene location where people can pay their respects in line with the wishes of his family.
“Over the weekend a member of the public replaced a paving slab by the site of Fusilier Rigby’s murder with a memorial stone.
“Rumours are circulating on social media that we are planning to remove that memorial this week – these rumours are not true.
We continue to talk to members of the Rigby family and have not reached a decision on the new memorial stone.”
The black flagstone slab is in Wellington Street where fusilier Rigby was killed.
Ted Newman, who started the petition opposing the rumoured removal of the memorial, had said: “Recently a memorial stone was laid where British soldier Lee Rigby was brutally murdered by terrorist scum in Greenwich South London.
The stone is harming nobody, yet Greenwich council have decided to remove it.” David Vance said on Twitter: “I read that Greenwich council prepares to remove the plaque commemorating Lee Rigby. What a hateful thing to do.”
But others on social media have cast doubt on whether the removal rumours came from a reliable source.
Anthony Holt said on Twitter: “No one is trying to remove the Lee Rigby memorial. It’s a rumour made up to wind up thick people and on social media.”
Council workers had received death threats in February this year when they started removing flowers and flags which had been placed in Wellington Street.
Furious residents disrupted a full council meeting the following week.
Then leader Cllr Denise Hyland said at the time: “Public safety and the rule of law itself are under threat.”