The National Assembly Against Racism (NAAR) has been informed by the Greater London Authority that anti-racism will no longer be a central element of the annual 'Rise: London united against racism festival' due to take place in July.

A free anti-racist music festival has been held in London by the trade unions since 1996. Since 2001 this was supported by the Mayor of London, the trade unions and the National Assembly Against Racism - Britain's broadest anti-racist coalition. It was Europe's largest anti-racist music festival.

The festival has consistently attracted major international and homegrown talent to perform for fees far less than the would commercially command because of the anti racist message.

In 2005, the festival, with artists including artists Lemar
, Billy Bragg, and Suggs, was part of a series of events helping celebrate London's unity in the aftermath of the terrorist bombings of 7 July that year.

This year the central anti-racist message of the festival has been dropped by Boris Johnson's administration.

Initial publicity for the festival confirms this dropping the message 'London united against racism' - indeed not mentioning racism at all.

A spokesperson for NAAR said:

'We were contacted by the Greater London Authority last week and told anti-racism will no longer be the central message of the Rise festival.

'This is confirmed by initial publicity which drops the message "London united against racism" and all reference to opposing racism.

'Support for the festival from performers and communities has always been based on this anti-racist message so the change is sure to be highly controversial.

'The sincerity of Boris Johnson's claimed commitment to opposing racism in his election campaign is shown to by that fact that one of his first decisions is to abandon Europe's biggest anti-racist festival.'