SHOPPERS in Bury have been urged not to be bystanders to hatred and prejudice after being surprised by a flashmob yesterday.

Bury Council members and dancers from Theatre Works joined together at the Mill Gate Shopping Centre to dance to Stone Roses track All For One before unfurling a banner announcing Hate Crime Awareness Week.

The flashmob was organised to mark the Week, which runs from February 5 to 11 and aims to highlight the issue of hate crime — encourage victims, witnesses and anyone which suspects incidences of such crime to report them.

Tom Hoghton, Community Safety Manager at Bury Council whose team helped organise the flashmob said: “Following the Manchester Terror attack there was a rise in hate crime across Greater Manchester and Bury was no different.

"This increase demonstrated that now, more than ever, we need to challenge hate wherever we see it.

“Inspired by how fortunate we are in Bury to have such a diverse community we approached Theatre Works who choreographed the dance and together they encouraged different organisations to take part, ensuring that dancers representing all strands of hate crime were involved; race, religion, sexual orientation, transgender, disability and alternative subculture.

"The dual aims of the campaign are to encourage victims to report hate crime and to reduce the number of incidents.

"We hope that by raising awareness of the issue and demonstrating a sense of unity amongst different communities we can encourage others to do the same.”

Over the course of the week dozens of events and activities have been organised across Greater Manchester, including art competitions and displays, flamenco dancers, a living library, poetry performances and discussions.

Everyone from across the region is being asked to sign up to the Greater Manchester promise, never to stand by if they see someone being abused or attacked because of who they are.

Councillor Tamoor Tariq, who took part in the Flashmob, said: “We saw a spike in the amount of hate crimes and incidents across Bury at certain times last year.

"After major tragedies here in Greater Manchester, with our friends in London and indeed across the world, it’s sadly not unusual to see an increase, but that did fall again quickly. "Our voice is stronger if we speak together, and if people sign the promise, it sends out a clear message that we stand together.

"Getting the message out is essential, and it’s great to have joined forces with Theatre Works to do this in an unusual way that will hopefully stick in peoples’ minds.”

Hate crimes can vary from verbal to physical abuse, but reporting them is easy and can be done online at LINK, by calling the police on 101 or dozens of independent reporting centres across the region.

Chief Superintendent Wasim Choudrym, GMP's lead for hate crime said: “If you see it happen, report it. If it is safe to do so, challenge the perpetrator. We need people to know that we will not accept this sort of behaviour.

For more information on reporting hate crimes in Bury visit

To sign up to the Greater Manchester promise visit