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From: The Socialist issue 405, 25 August 2005: Defend Workers' Rights

Search site for keywords: Jean Charles de Menezes - Police - shooting - Lambeth - Socialist Party

Jean Charles de Menezes

No more police cover-ups

THE RECENT leaked report on the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes clearly shows what many local activists already suspected, that this was the murder of an innocent Brazilian man. The campaign for justice has called for Metropolitan Police chief Ian Blair to resign, no more cover-ups and a public inquiry now.

Rob MacDonald, Lambeth Socialist Party

It was clear from the outset that the police intended to muddy the water to cover their blunder. They have been helped by the jingoism of the tabloid press, with one paper using the headline "got one," after the shooting.

Stop the War Coalition Demonstration

24 September 2005

Assemble 1pm Central London

But of course Jean Charles wasn't "one" and did nothing suspicious to be seen as "one". Contrary to earlier reports, he wasn't wearing a heavy jacket which may have hidden a bomb. He travelled on two buses, was being tracked all this time and could have been stopped if surveillance police thought he was dangerous.

The story that he jumped a barrier is untrue. He picked up a newspaper and calmly walked to his train, only running when rushing to catch his train, something all Londoners do. It then seems he sat down.

All he did to arouse suspicion was to leave a block of flats that police suspected a bomber might be in and to have similar eyes to a bomb suspect! This shows the reality of the repressive anti-terror laws that Charles Clarke was so pleased to defend just hours before the latest leak.

Lambeth Socialist Party has produced thousands of local bulletins in English and Portuguese and campaigned on the issues amongst Portuguese, South American and other local working-class communities. This led to a high turnout at our public meeting on the shooting and the political situation in Latin America.

Tony Saunois from the Committee for a Workers' International reported on the protest in Brazil against the shooting and explained that Jean Charles was one of many who left his homeland in search of a better living due to the neo-liberal attacks taking place in South America.

The meeting reaffirmed our branch's commitment to justice for Jean Charles de Menezes and for fighting for working-class unity across south London's many communities. As there is a clear link between the killing of Jean Charles and the war in Iraq, we are pushing for a strong feeder march to pass Stockwell station, go through Lambeth estates and then join the national Stop the War Coalition demonstration on 24 September.

For more information on the family campaign go to www.Lambethsocialistparty.org.uk or contact the campaign direct at [email protected]


Protest

A 600-strong protest was held on 22 August near 10 Downing Street demanding justice for the family of Brazilian worker Jean Charles de Menezes who was mercilessly gunned down by police in Stockwell tube station.

Natasha Burke, Lambeth Socialist Party

The cousin of Jean Charles, handed in a letter to the Prime Minister calling for a public enquiry into the shooting.

The protest was attended by other families of victims who were killed in police custody, such as the family of Paul Coker who dies in Plumstead police station only hours after being arrested on 6 August.

The protestv turned into a lively impromptu demo from Downing Street to Scotland Yard, despite police attempts to stop it. (The police said that to march without their prior permission was illegal.)

The marchers passed through the Westminister zone where a law passed on 1 August made spontaneous protests in the Westminster zone illegal.

The demonstration finished 50 metres short of Scotland Yard where further passionate speeches were made, calling for Ian Blair to resign and that there would not be peace without justice.


De Menezes shooting

Working-class victims of repressive powers

THE POLICE shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes in Stockwell tube station tragically showed why the 'shoot-to-kill' policy must go.

Rob MacDonald, Lambeth

Many Brazilians in Britain have been shocked that the killing of Jean Charles could be committed by the British police who they had seen in a good light compared to the Brazilian state forces.

And this is not the first suspicious death at the hands of the police in Lambeth; there have been at least 16 in recent years. The cases of Derek Bennett, Wayne Douglas, Ricky Bishop and Brain Douglas are still remembered.

Hours after Jean Charles was shot, police raided the flat of Girma Belay, an Ethiopian refugee, who was then beaten, stripped naked and held under arrest for six days. He may have been targeted for being a protester against Tony Blair's relationship with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. Actions like these have increased the tense atmosphere on some estates in Lambeth, which endure police shootings, raids, harassment and regular bomb alerts.

It is almost 20 years to the day that rioting erupted on the streets of Brixton following the police shooting of Cherry Groce and killing of Cynthia Jarrett. These cases and that of Jean Charles raise questions not only about the role of the police but also on who controls them.

The IPCC, set up after worries about the police investigating themselves, should have started their investigation into the Stockwell tube shooting immediately, but were prevented from doing so by police chief Ian Blair's delaying tactics. Many important days were lost, leading to further speculation of a cover-up.

The police have clearly lied from the start and continue to hamper the investigation. Lambeth Socialist Party has been calling for a genuine public inquiry so all information can be scrutinised. We believe this should be led and controlled by the local community, involving trade unions and community groups.

There should be democratic accountability of the police. Leading police should be elected by the public and decisions such as 'shoot-to-kill' should not be a secret.

There is fear amongst Londoners following the bomb attacks but increased repressive powers will not prevent further terrorist attacks and can eventually be targeted at anyone opposing the British state.

It is essential that an alternative is posed to both the British state's increasingly repressive powers and to terrorism.

The mess that US imperialism has created in Iraq, the fear and anger Londoners have after the bombs and the social conditions of low pay and cuts, including attacks on emergency services, need to be linked up.

Lambeth Socialist party has vigorously campaigned for a local demonstration to unite the working class in our area on this basis, to build the pressure for justice for Jean Charles, but also to fight for social rights and a genuine future for all on the basis of socialism. The local and national trade union movement needs to act to build unity and a vigorous fight-back for the whole working class.

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Article dated 25 August 2005

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