Over three hundred friends and supporters of the family of Jean Charles de Menezes – the young Brazilian electrician murdered by Metropolitan Police firearms officers while he was on his way to work last July 22nd – held a vigil opposite Downing Street on Monday evening.
De Menezes was shot seven times in the head and once in the shoulder at close range while being held down in a Tube carriage at Stockwell Underground Station.
In a statement outside Downing Street, Jean Charles de Menezes’ cousin, Alessandro Pereira, said: ‘Today is a month since my cousin, Jean Charles de Menezes was killed at Stockwell tube station.
‘I have just handed a letter to the British Prime Minister Tony Blair on behalf of the family both here and in Brazil.
‘I am calling on him to make sure that those responsible for the murder of Jean are brought to justice.
‘The family also call for a full public inquiry into all the circumstances into the death of my cousin including the Shoot to Kill Policy and the lies we have been told by the Metropolitan Police.
‘Every day we discover more and more lies. We have heard too many.
‘We simply demand truth and justice.
‘I would like to thank everyone who has supported our family both here and in my country.
‘Thankyou very much.’
One of those present at the vigil was Susan Alexander, the mother of 24-year-old Azelle Rodney from Edgware, who was shot dead by armed police on Saturday April 30.
Azelle, an expectant father was shot seven times in the head while in the back of a police car in Hale Lane, Edgware.
Susan told News Line: ‘We are out in full support of the de Menezes family.
‘I think there is a cover-up.
‘We are expected to swallow everything and not challenge it.
‘We have a joint event with the de Menezes family, a screening of the film “Injustice’’ at the Prince Charles cinema, Leicester Square, on September 2.’
Another demonstrator, Steve Raymond, said: ‘I feel strongly because the guy wasn’t a terrorist and could have been stopped before he reached the tube.
‘There has been a cover-up to hide the mistakes that have been made.
‘Ian Blair should resign.’
Catherine Adebaki said: ‘Shoot to kill is stupid.
‘There’s so many lies that have been told and as young people we are meant to be getting the truth.
‘When you get big guys like that policeman telling bare lies.’
Her friends Stephanie and Nikki, from Finsbury Victory Youth Group, said: ‘We’re here to support the memory of Jean Charles de Menezes.
‘For the police to offer the family money is disrespect because life is irreplaceable, money comes and goes.
‘How do I know the police can’t shoot me down?’ one of them asked.
‘We young people should have a voice.’
Shauvaughn Best said: ‘They should never have shot him in the first place.
‘The police chief should resign and there should be a full public inquiry.’
Cindy Soso said: ‘I’m here to show that it’s not acceptable to have that kind of policy.
‘Politicians don’t care because it doesn’t affect them.
‘I don’t know anybody that has been shot but politicians are shallow and I don’t know how they sleep at night.
‘They probably think that people wouldn’t turn up tonight because it’s raining.
‘But I’m here to show that the rain doesn’t put people off.
‘Tony Blair didn’t even turn up for Cook’s funeral because he was on his holidays.’
Fokrul Islam from Grays in Essex said: ‘Blair and Bush are the biggest terrorists with their shoot to kill policy.’
Amancay Colque, from Bolivia, said: ‘I think this was an execution by the state.
‘This is not a poor country but a country where the police are supposed to be the best in the world!
‘I have concerns because it has similarities to killings organised by death squads in Argentina. They say they never execute an innocent person, only terrorists.
‘Years later, we discover that 30,000 people have been murdered by the state and the whole world asks why we didn’t say anything, and when I ask my Argentinian friends, they say they were scared.
‘We feel scared here in Britain – we are immigrants and we look foreign in their eyes, and in their eyes immigrants going to work are potential terrorists.
‘So any of us could be executed under the police shoot-to-kill policy.
‘I don’t want to wait until one of my family is executed, my brother or son, so I am here to ask the government to get rid of the shoot-to-kill policy before more innocent people are killed by the state.’
Jubari, from Stockwell, said: ‘I was at Stockwell on the morning Jean Charles was shot and I heard witnesses’ stories, so I believed he was innocent.
‘It made me really anti-police.
‘I was so sad that day.
‘I’m here to protest against all the injustices in the world – the war on Iraq and the under-development of Africa.’
A German woman married to a Brazilian, who both live in Britain, Dagmar Lopes Pereira (no relation to the de Menezes family) said: ‘I am here because I am against the shoot-to-kill policy.
‘I am surprised I am living where there is a death penalty.
‘Police Commissioner Blair should definitely resign.
‘I didn’t know of the shoot-to-kill until after Jean Charles was shot.
‘You cannot just shoot somebody.
‘I’m German and my husband is Brazilian and we only live about five streets away from where Jean Charles lived.
‘I’m really angry that the police told so many lies.’
Damian Roda said: ‘The police think they have a licence to kill without any positive identification.
‘They didn’t have proper communication.
‘They still shot a man and then told a load of lies.
‘Both Blairs are covering up. It’s turning into a police state.’
Supporters of the Justice For Paul Coker campaign also took part in the vigil.
Paul’s brother and sister, Wally and Amy Coker spoke to News Line.
They said that Paul was arrested on August 6 at 4.45 in the morning, for breach of the peace, and taken to Plumstead police station ‘and within two hours he was dead.’
Paul was 32 years old.
‘We want answers,’ they said.
‘We don’t even know what he died of. The post-mortem was inconclusive.’