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Drummer Lee Rigby's family: 'Don't use his death as an excuse to attack others'

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Drummer Lee Rigby was killed on May 22 in Woolwich, south-east London (MoD/PA)

Drummer Lee Rigby was killed on May 22 in Woolwich, south-east London (MoD/PA)

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Family members of murdered soldier Lee Rigby, (left to right)  his mother and stepfather Lyn and Ian Rigby and his wife Rebecca Rigby, as his stepfather reads a statement at a press conference at the Regimental HQ of his unit, the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers at Bury in Greater Manchester

Family members of murdered soldier Lee Rigby, (left to right) his mother and stepfather Lyn and Ian Rigby and his wife Rebecca Rigby, as his stepfather reads a statement at a press conference at the Regimental HQ of his unit, the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers at Bury in Greater Manchester

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English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson, left, went to Woolwich following the death of a serving soldier

English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson, left, went to Woolwich following the death of a serving soldier

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A list of what were said to be mobile phone numbers for senior named EDL figures were published onlin

A list of what were said to be mobile phone numbers for senior named EDL figures were published onlin

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People taking part in the English Defence League march in Newcastle

People taking part in the English Defence League march in Newcastle

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Security minister James Brokenshire said far-right groups can 'stoke radicalisation'

Security minister James Brokenshire said far-right groups can 'stoke radicalisation'

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The van believed to carrying Michael Adebowale leaves Westminster Magistrates' Court in London following his appearance

The van believed to carrying Michael Adebowale leaves Westminster Magistrates' Court in London following his appearance

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A court artist sketch of Michael Adebowale flanked by two police officers in the dock (Elizabeth Cook /PA)

A court artist sketch of Michael Adebowale flanked by two police officers in the dock (Elizabeth Cook /PA)

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Flowers and a card tied to a wreath believed to have been left by the family of Drummer Lee Rigby

Flowers and a card tied to a wreath believed to have been left by the family of Drummer Lee Rigby

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LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 24:  A member of the community lays flowers close to the scene where Drummer Lee Rigby of the 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers was killed, on May 24, 2013 in London, England. Drummer Lee Rigby of the 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers was murdered by suspected Islamists near London's Woolwich Army Barracks. The UK's security services are facing a Commons inquiry after confirmation that the two men arrested were known to MI5.  (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 24: A member of the community lays flowers close to the scene where Drummer Lee Rigby of the 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers was killed, on May 24, 2013 in London, England. Drummer Lee Rigby of the 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers was murdered by suspected Islamists near London's Woolwich Army Barracks. The UK's security services are facing a Commons inquiry after confirmation that the two men arrested were known to MI5. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

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LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 27:  English Defence League (EDL) leader Tommy Robinson speaks to supporters during a rally outside Downing Street on May 27, 2013 in London, England. The EDL are protesting what the group sees as a lack of support and protection given to British troops following the terror attack last week, in which soldier Drummer Lee Rigby was murdered in a knife and machete attack by two Muslim men outside Woolwich Barracks. A counter demonstration is planned by the group Unite Against Facism as tensions run high across certain communities.  (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 27: English Defence League (EDL) leader Tommy Robinson speaks to supporters during a rally outside Downing Street on May 27, 2013 in London, England. The EDL are protesting what the group sees as a lack of support and protection given to British troops following the terror attack last week, in which soldier Drummer Lee Rigby was murdered in a knife and machete attack by two Muslim men outside Woolwich Barracks. A counter demonstration is planned by the group Unite Against Facism as tensions run high across certain communities. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

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People leave flowers at the scene at the junction of Artillery Place and John Wilson Street which has become a shrine to Drummer Lee Rigby

People leave flowers at the scene at the junction of Artillery Place and John Wilson Street which has become a shrine to Drummer Lee Rigby

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Caroline McNiffe writes a message in a book of condolence to Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich Town Hall, south east London

Caroline McNiffe writes a message in a book of condolence to Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich Town Hall, south east London

PA

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 26:  People embrace outside the Royal Artillery Barracks, close to where Drummer Lee Rigby of the 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers was killed, on May 26, 2013 in London, England. Drummer Lee Rigby of the 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers was murdered by suspected Islamists near London's Woolwich Army Barracks. His family visited the scene of his murder today and left floral tributes whilst it was confirmed by the Foreign Office that one of the suspects, Michael Adebolajo, was arrested in Kenya in 2010.  (Photo by Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 26: People embrace outside the Royal Artillery Barracks, close to where Drummer Lee Rigby of the 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers was killed, on May 26, 2013 in London, England. Drummer Lee Rigby of the 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers was murdered by suspected Islamists near London's Woolwich Army Barracks. His family visited the scene of his murder today and left floral tributes whilst it was confirmed by the Foreign Office that one of the suspects, Michael Adebolajo, was arrested in Kenya in 2010. (Photo by Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images)

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A pair of Army boots among the flowers at the area which has become a shrine to Drummer Lee Rigby

A pair of Army boots among the flowers at the area which has become a shrine to Drummer Lee Rigby

PA

Floral tributes outside the main gate of the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich

Floral tributes outside the main gate of the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich

PA

People leave flowers at the scene of the murder at the junction of Artillery Place and John Wilson Street in Woolwich

People leave flowers at the scene of the murder at the junction of Artillery Place and John Wilson Street in Woolwich

PA

People leave flowers at the scene at the junction of Artillery Place and John Wilson Street which has become a shrine to Drummer Lee Rigby

People leave flowers at the scene at the junction of Artillery Place and John Wilson Street which has become a shrine to Drummer Lee Rigby

PA

A balloon, flowers and a card tied to a street sign believed to have been left by the family of soldier Drummer Lee Rigby, close to the scene where he was murdered near to Woolwich Barracks on Wednesday, in Woolwich south east London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday May 26, 2013. See PA story POLICE Woolwich. Photo credit should read: John Stillwell/PA Wire

A balloon, flowers and a card tied to a street sign believed to have been left by the family of soldier Drummer Lee Rigby, close to the scene where he was murdered near to Woolwich Barracks on Wednesday, in Woolwich south east London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday May 26, 2013. See PA story POLICE Woolwich. Photo credit should read: John Stillwell/PA Wire

PA

Flowers and a card tied to a street sign believed to have been left by the family of soldier Drummer Lee Rigby, close to the scene where he was murdered near to Woolwich Barracks on Wednesday, in Woolwich south east London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday May 26, 2013. See PA story POLICE Woolwich. Photo credit should read: John Stillwell/PA Wire

Flowers and a card tied to a street sign believed to have been left by the family of soldier Drummer Lee Rigby, close to the scene where he was murdered near to Woolwich Barracks on Wednesday, in Woolwich south east London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday May 26, 2013. See PA story POLICE Woolwich. Photo credit should read: John Stillwell/PA Wire

PA

A card tied to a street sign believed to have been left by the family of  soldier Drummer Lee Rigby, close to the scene where he was murdered near to Woolwich Barracks on Wednesday, in Woolwich south east London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday May 26, 2013. See PA story POLICE Woolwich. Photo credit should read: John Stillwell/PA Wire

A card tied to a street sign believed to have been left by the family of soldier Drummer Lee Rigby, close to the scene where he was murdered near to Woolwich Barracks on Wednesday, in Woolwich south east London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday May 26, 2013. See PA story POLICE Woolwich. Photo credit should read: John Stillwell/PA Wire

PA

Drummer Lee Rigby's widow Rebecca, clutching a Peppa Pig soft toy, joins other family members as they look at floral tributes outside Woolwich Barracks as they visited the scene of his murder in Woolwich, south-east London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday May 26, 2013. They laid flowers at the Woolwich Barracks where the 25-year-old soldier with the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers was based, and where hundreds of floral tributes have already been left by wellwishers.  See PA story POLICE Woolwich. Photo credit should read:Jennifer Cockerill/PA Wire

Drummer Lee Rigby's widow Rebecca, clutching a Peppa Pig soft toy, joins other family members as they look at floral tributes outside Woolwich Barracks as they visited the scene of his murder in Woolwich, south-east London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday May 26, 2013. They laid flowers at the Woolwich Barracks where the 25-year-old soldier with the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers was based, and where hundreds of floral tributes have already been left by wellwishers. See PA story POLICE Woolwich. Photo credit should read:Jennifer Cockerill/PA Wire

PA

Drummer Lee Rigby was killed on May 22 in Woolwich, south-east London (MoD/PA)

Family and colleagues of Woolwich murder victim Drummer Lee Rigby have distanced themselves from “extremist” groups using his death as an excuse to commit violence and make political gains.

The condemnation comes as a blow to groups planning to hold a series of marches across the country today.

The English Defence League and the British National Party have both planned nearly 60 different demonstrations across Britain and anti-fascists have vowed to oppose them. Unite Against Fascism and Hope Not Hate both told The Independent they would be in London to counter demonstrations by the two groups, while large EDL marches are also expected in Leeds and Manchester.

But the young soldier's relatives urged mourners to show their respect in a “peaceful manner” amid increased tensions between political and religious groups.

 

In a statement released through the Ministry of Defence, family members including his mother Lyn, stepfather Ian, wife Rebecca and son Jack, said: “We would like to emphasise that Lee would not want people to use his name as an excuse to carry out attacks against others.

 

”We would not wish any other families to go through this harrowing experience and appeal to everyone to keep calm and show their respect in a peaceful manner.“

 

A message circulated from Army HQ warned former soldiers that “Far-Right, extremist organisations (English Defence League in particular) will seize any opportunity to align veterans with their cause”. It added: “Veterans should be strongly discouraged from wearing regimental headdress or accoutrements if they are attending events organised or affiliated with extremist organisations.”

 

It also made clear that serving soldiers were barred from taking an “active part in the affairs of any political organisation, party or movement and they are not to participate in political marches or demonstrations”.

 

And retired Brigadier Ian Liles, Regimental Secretary of the Fusiliers Association, linked to Drummer Rigby’s Regiment, wrote to members: “I want to make absolutely clear the Regiment’s view on this. The hackle and the Regiment is not to be associated with any organisations which seek to exploit the death of one of our Regimental family for a range of self-serving and unhelpful reasons.

 

“It is wrong and disgraceful that the death of one of our own should be exploited in this manner and that dishonour, by wrongful association, is brought onto the Regiment. We are to remain dignified with our heads held high and respect Fusilier Rigby in the way we have all our dead; with honour and pride.”

 

And there was a further blow for EDL leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, aka Tommy Robinson, when a serving soldier - who had proposed taking his place on a sponsored walk in aid of Help for Heroes after the charity refused EDL donations – withdrew his offer. The soldier had been forced to deny racist sympathies over the plan, which he said was simply to ensure the charity did not miss out on money, and eventually announced he was pulling out today.

 

Meanwhile, it was also announced that one of Drummer Rigby’s suspected killers Michael Adebolajo was discharged from hospital where he had been recovering after he was shot by police. The 28-year-old had already been arrested on suspicion over the killing, and was further arrested on suspicion of the attempted murder of a police officer.

 

Michael Adebowale, 22, has already been charged with murdering the young soldier and is due to appear at the Old Bailey on Monday. Separately today, officers said they had arrested two men aged 42 and 46 in east and north London on suspicion of being involved in the supply of illegal firearms.

 

And an inquest into Drummer Rigby's death was opened and adjourned during a brief hearing at Southwark Coroner's Court this morning.  The court heard that he was killed as he returned to his barracks after a day working at the Tower of London.

 

A friend of a suspected Woolwich attacker who was arrested after being interviewed on Newsnight has appeared in court charged with three terror offences unrelated to the Woolwich murder. Abu Nusaybah gave an interview to the BBC last week claiming that his friend Michael Adebolajo had been offered a job by MI5.

Belfast Telegraph