On Sunday 18th June 2006 more than 2000 people marched in East London to protest against the police raid against the community and against the shooting of Mohammed Abdul Kahar in Forest Gate.
The demonstration was aimed at showing the community’s anger and frustration at the raids. The march started in Plashet Park, East Ham' and took a circular route along Romford Road, along Green Street, returning to a rally in Plashet Pakt via Plashet Grove.
Demonstrators carried placards with statements such as “The War on Terror is a War on Us”.
The slogans of the demonstration had been agreed beforehand by the community and summed up the purpose of the demonstration. Amongst others were:
Tony Blair, Ian Blair!
Racism’s not welcome here!
Shoot to kill you DO allow
Who commits the Terror now!
Police Terror in Forest Gate
This we’ll never tolerate
Blair your gagging legislation
Shows your blatant desperation
Speaking out is never violence
This community will not be silenced
You can make the truth a crime
But it will come out in time
Our prayer remains the same
We refuse to live in shame
Spying, Lying is all we hear
M15 is creating fear.
Media reports are full of hate
Speak to the people of Forest Gate.
Media lies and exaggerations
will damage community relations.
We reproduce the slogans here because they represent the voice of the demonstrators and put their views in their own words.
The official statement of March Organisers called for the following:
· A full and unqualified apology from the Metropolitan Police to be personally issued to those who were victims of these events.
· A call for an end to police privately ‘briefing’ newspapers.
· Stop the politicisation of the police force.
· We are not prepared to live in fear or be silenced.
· End to association of Islam with terrorism.
· A full apology from the Prime Minister to the families and community.
· The War on Terror needs to be urgently reviewed. (as it is dividing communities and heightening alienation.)
Speeches were made by:
Abul Koyair (brother of Mohammed Abdul Kahar, who was shot during the raid).
The cousin of Jean Charles de Menezes (who was murdered by police last summer at Stockwell tube station).
Neighbour of the brothers in Lansdowne Road who was also raided by the police.
The following organisations were also given an opportunity to speak from the platform:
Let’s Talk (Youth Organisation).
Newham Monitoring Project
Stop the War
Stop political terror (civil rights lawyer spoke on the behalf of this group)
Hizb ut Tahrir
Islamic Forum Europe
In his speech Abul Koyair thanked everyone for coming and said:
“This has been a very hard time. We don’t want this to happen to any other person, and I mean no one, whether Muslim or Non-Muslim.”
A statement from his brother Mohammed Abdul Kahar, who was too ill to be there, was also read out in this he said:
“I would like to thank everyone for attending, justice for us extends to our neighbours and community. Thank you to all communities.”
The organisers of the march pointed out that they were opposed to State Terrorism, Individual Terrorism and Police Terrorism. They said that “This march is a first step. All of us together is the only way we can stop it.” They made the point that where people have not had community support in other areas they have suffered in isolation. They pointed out that the community were not going to let that happen in Forest Gate and were determined to make sure it doesn’t happen anywhere else.
The march organising committee can be contacted at PO Box 273, London E7
Tel 07985 240804
Gulf Crisis Group