Forest Gate report justifies police-state tactics

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THE official Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) published its report yesterday into complaints against the Metropolitan Police over its huge police raid in Forest Gate, east London, on June 2, 2006.

At 4am 300 police, including firearms officers and the MI5 secret police, raided 46 Lansdown Road, the home of the family of Mohammed Abdul Kahar and Abul Koyair, during which Abdul Kahar was shot in the chest.

In the operation, number 48, the home of Hanif Doga’s family was occupied. Those living there were handcuffed, despite admissions by the police that they were not under arrest.

Mohammed Abdul Kahar, who worked at Tesco, was seriously wounded and had to receive hospital treatment. Then he and Abul Koyair, who works for Royal Mail, were imprisoned in Paddington Green police station.

Lansdown Road was sealed off for days and the two brothers were imprisoned, without charge, for a week before they were freed.

The two families hit by the police raid lodged 150 complaints on behalf of the 11 residents, including complaints about the operation itself and their treatment in custody.

Yet the IPCC supported completely the raid and the level of violence used by the police.

Deborah Glass, IPCC Commissioner said: ‘I have concluded that the police were right to take no chances with public safety . . . That the police did not find an explosive device does not mean they were wrong to have launched the raid.’

She added: ‘We did not uphold any complaints about excessive force, although there is no doubt that some residents were injured by police actions.’

She reminded the press: ‘Our first report, into the discharge of a police firearm, concluded that the discharge was an accident . . .’

Mohammed Abdul Kahar said: ‘It’s a whitewash, they did not investigate the full 150 complaints . . . How can you say it is not excessive force when they shot me, they repeatedly kicked me . . . and they dragged me down the stairs?’

Only three weeks ago, there was a huge police operation against the Muslim community in Birmingham, after which several of those arrested were released without charge, just like the two brothers in Forest Gate.

This is the second report within a year from the IPCC that has fully backed the actions of the police. It has already vindicated the Metropolitan Police’s ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy that led to the murder of 26-year-old Brazilian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes on July 22, 2005.

Now it has justified the use of an anonymous informer, or agent provocateur, a mass police raid and a shooting, in Forest Gate, on June 2, 2006.

The legal framework for these police-state tactics has been put in place by the Labour Government of Prime Minister Tony Blair through its barrage of so-called ‘anti-terror’ legislation.

As far as the IPCC is concerned, a Brazilian electrician, someone working at Royal Mail, the Asian working-class in east London, and the Muslim community in Birmingham are fair game for these police-state attacks.

This report must serve as an urgent warning to the whole working class movement.

As workers engage in vital struggles to defend jobs, pay, pensions and essential services like the National Health Service, it is clear that the Labour government will use every means possible to drive home its attacks.

Sections of workers could be subjected to dawn raids and find themselves looking down the barrel of a gun if the MI5 secret police decide to provide the police with some ‘intelligence’, under the laws brought in by this government.

The whole trade union movement, organised through the Trades Union Congress, must act to restore basic democratic rights by organising a general strike to get rid of the Blair government and its police-state laws.

This government must be replaced by a workers’ government that will repeal all the anti-terror laws and the anti-union laws, close down MI5 and MI6, and disband the police and its shoot-to-kill units.