STOP SHOOT-TO-KILL – demands De Menezes family


‘Please help us in our quest for justice,’ Allessandro Pereira, cousin of Jean Charles de Menezes told a vigil in Parliament Square last Friday night.

Pereira told a 500-strong crowd: ‘Jean Charles de Menezes, was aged 27, he was a young Brazilian man who came to London full of dreams and hopes.

‘He loved London. He loved its vibrancy he loved the fact that it was home to so many different people around the world.

‘He called it home. Seven days ago he died, an innocent man, who was shot dead by police officers.

‘He was shot with seven bullets to his head and one to his shoulder.

‘We have many questions as to how he died. We want to find the truth. We want justice.’

‘But today is about remembering Jean. At this very moment his funeral is beginning in our home town of Gazanga.

‘The streets are lined with the people of my town as they pay their respects to Jean.

‘His death has destroyed Jean’s mother and father. Jean was the youngest child. He was loved by everybody.

‘He brought so much happiness to our family. He was always full of life, he loved to make friends, he loved to talk, he loved to sing.

‘Now we will never hear his voice again.’

Pereira thanked all who have supported the family over this past week and concluded: ‘We are an ordinary family, just like all of the people of London.

‘This death could so easily have happened to somebody else’s brother, father or cousin.

‘I hope that no other family suffers as we have suffered.’

A speaker for the De Menezes Family Campaign said: ‘It’s been a tragic week for the family.

‘Jean was a man on his way to work, shot and killed by police officers.

‘It could happen to anyone. It’s a policy of shoot-to-kill.

‘We need all your support, we need to help the family in their quest for justice.

‘You must say to the police “you must stop this shoot-to-kill policy”.’

News Line spoke to some of those attending the vigil.

Brazilian tourist Roberto Campos said: ‘I am very upset.

‘They say the police of England are the best ones in the world. We are surprised they kill a man like that.

‘We support police to combat terrorists but we don’t like to see the police with arms in their hands.

‘You feel like it’s a war, a war against the ordinary people by the police.

‘A man lost his life. They killed him like a dog.

‘Why didn’t they stop him at the house if they knew the address? What about the Tube passengers?

‘Why did the police commander, when she was told the man looked like a terrorist, give the word to kill him?’

Medical secretary Jackie Folinou said: ‘It’s appalling what happened to that young man.

‘It was an execution without a trial.

‘It was much worse than the terrorists.

‘How did it happen that police were allowed to murder someone in public in front of ordinary people travelling in the Tube?

‘He was nothing to do with anything.’

Rooja Pant, a young Nepalese woman living in Britain, added: ‘Police brutality is a serious issue in our community.

‘I’m here to make a stand against police brutality and show my solidarity with the guy that was killed.

‘It’s terrible. The police have no excuse to kill anybody. Putting seven or eight bullets into someone’s head is terrible, it’s not justified.

‘If this had happened in Nepal, Western governments and human rights groups would be making a big protest about human rights violations.

‘But this is happening in their own backyard, and they don’t even ask for forgiveness. I haven’t heard anybody say they’re sorry.

‘I heard the police chief say this could happen again.

‘Since these bombs have happened, every day there are police raids.

‘When they happened, I thought “what will happen to English civil liberties?” I mean, they want these ID cards, it’s playing into their hands.

‘The trade unions should definitely make a statement, even strike, that would be even better.

‘Working class people all over the world should make a stand. It was a worker who was shot, a migrant worker.’

Elaine Gibbs, retired college worker, told News Line: ‘I’m here to show solidarity with Jean Charles’ family and show not everyone goes along with what’s happening.

‘It was terrible. The police behaved badly. Most of us are appalled.

‘I’d like Brazil to know we’re appalled.’

Lucia Clark, a student from Brazil married to an Englishman, said: ‘The death of the guy is not a matter of race or nationality.

‘It’s about the killing of an unarmed man.

‘I hope the inquiry will make clear what happened, what went wrong.

‘I think these things can happen again, unfortunately.’

London student Seb Klier added: ‘I came here because I thought it was necessary to provide a proper presence in remembering this young man.

‘I see the political implications in its connection with police repression against minorities.

‘It was murder. A shoot-to kill-policy is going to result in murder.

‘It is clearly an act of incompetence. I can’t say anything about the motivation of individual policemen, but the policy itself doesn’t allow for any mistakes.

‘Commissioner Blair being able to be public about his policy, is because there is a climate of fear which the police are able to capitalise on.

‘The rail unions should ballot for a strike over security.’

Brazilian Victor Nascimento, director of a US company in Britain, said: ‘It’s a very unfortunate thing, because all of this comes out of a war that George Bush, Tony Blair and Osama bin Laden have created.

‘As well as all those who have been killed in London and all over the world, Jean’s death is just one of those killings.

‘They are the beast of the Apocalypse, Bush, Blair and bin Laden.

‘They only waste money around the world and getting richer by killing other people and taking their oil.

‘All we want is the British government to come out and give us an open inquiry.

‘I personally want the shoot-to-kill policy ended.’