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Flags are being flown at half mast on Islington Town Hall’s roof in memory of Nelson Mandela.

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Last night’s meeting of the full council was suspended for an emotional minute’s silence as the news filtered through of the former South African President’s death.

A book of condolence has also been opened at the Town Hall which residents are invited to sign.

Mr Mandela will be mourned by thousands across Islington, which housed the headquarters of the African National Congress (ANC) between 1978-1994 when the party was outlawed in South Africa.

The building in Penton Road was the target of a terrorist attack from the South African government in 1983 when a 10-pound bomb was detonated there – thankfully nobody was killed in the blast.

Islington council was an active member of Local Authorities Against Apartheid during the period, which included boycotting South African goods and lobbying central government for a change to UK policy and Islington residents were among those arrested outside the South African High Commission in Trafalgar Square.

Richard Watts, leader of Islington Council, said:“Nelson Mandela’s name is held in the highest esteem by the borough of Islington - we are proud of our role in helping the African National Congress in exile throughout the 1980s.

“His struggle for fairness and equality as he fought for the most important political change in Africa’s history still resonates with us today.

“We have lowered Islington’s flags as a mark of respect and invite residents to sign our book of condolence.”

Islington Mayor Cllr Barry Edwards was chairing the meeting last night when the news reached Councillors, he said: “It was the first time I’d cried at the death of a politician since the 90s, I was very emotional.”

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