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Houses of Parliament to be lit up in red for persecuted Christians

The towers of the Houses of Parliament (AP)

The Houses of Parliament in Westminster will be lit up in red for #RedWednesday next week in honour of the world’s persecuted Christians and all those who suffer for peacefully held beliefs.

John Bercow MP, the Speaker of the House of Commons, and Lord Fowler, Speaker of the House of Lords, agreed to the initiative after being lobbied by parliamentarians, many of whom had been contacted by constituents.

Among those calling for Parliament to turn red was Trevor Harrison, from Sevenoaks, who wrote to his MP, Sir Michael Fallon.

He said he contacted his MP after attending an event in Parliament organised by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom or Belief – itself a supporter of #RedWednesday.

Speaking to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need, which is organising #Red Wednesday together with Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Mr Harrison said: “Turning Parliament red is a wonderful way to get the message about religious freedom to as wide an audience as possible.”

“We all need to get behind #RedWednesday – we need to stand together against violence carried out in the name of religion – we need to speak up about regimes which persecute people of faith.”

This will be the second year running that Parliament will turn red for #RedWednesday.

So far this year, at least 10 cathedrals across the UK have pledged to go red including London’s Westminster Cathedral and others in Ayr, Edinburgh, Paisley, Birmingham, Norwich, Wrexham, Derry and Armagh.

In total, nearly 50 public buildings are expected to get behind #RedWednesday – schools, colleges and churches including London’s Anglican St Martin-in-the-Fields and All Souls, Langham Place.

There will be a week of vigils and other events across the country from November 19 to 26.

At 6pm on November 22 a solidarity service will take place outside Westminster Cathedral, with talks, witness testimonies, a video message by MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, music and speeches by Coptic Orthodox Bishop Angaelos, Neville Kyrke-Smith, national director of Aid to the Church in Need (UK), and Mervyn Thomas, chief executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

Throughout the day, a traditional London red bus emblazoned with #RedWednesday slogans will be criss-crossing the capital, stopping at London landmarks.