THE anger of the local community against the police raid in Forest Gate on June 2 burst onto the streets of Newham, east London, on Sunday.
More than 4,000 people joined the ‘United Communities’ protest march.
It was called by 18 organisations, including the Newham Muslim Alliance, representing the borough’s mosques, Newham Public Affairs Committee and the long-established anti-racist campaign, the Newham Monitoring Project.
At the rally at the end of the demonstration in Plashet Park, a message from Mohammed Abdul Kadar, who was shot in the chest and was not able to attend the march, expressed the hurt felt by the family.
His brother Jalal read the message in which he said: ‘We want justice for myself and my family. This is not just for us, but for our neighbours and our community.’
His brother, Abul Koyair, who was arrested and held for a week following the 250-strong police raid told the rally: ‘Thank you for supporting our family through all we are going through.
‘We do not want this to happen to anyone else in our community.’
The family acknowledged the similarity between the police attack in Forest Gate and the gunning down of the young Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes.
In fact, Abul Koyair wore a Brazilian football shirt on the march, which had printed on the back ‘de Menezes 27’.
Alex Pereira and Patricia da Silva Armani, cousins of Jean Charles de Menezes, spoke at the Plashet Park rally.
Patricia said: ‘We must make sure the police are accountable for what they have done. We need your help too.’
The police not only raided 46 Lansdown Road, but they broke into the neighbouring home at 48.
Mohammed Dogra, who lives there, explained in detail what happened there during the raid.
His uncle and his uncle’s wife and baby were staying with him. His uncle was hit with the butt of a gun, which produced a wound requiring stitches.
Mohammed Dogra said he was handcuffed, sworn at by police and taken down the street still in handcuffs, but was not charged with any offence.
He said: ‘I have seen this happen in India, but I did not expect to see it happen in Britain.
‘It has been a shock to me and my family and we are still recovering.
‘For our family there should be justice.’
There were many other speakers at the rally, including those from the Newham Muslim Alliance, the Newham Monitoring Project and Stop the War Coalition.
A spokesman for Hizb ut Tahir said: ‘Our job is to remain united and not fall for the lies.
‘They went to war on Iraq as a result of lies.’
Speaking of the demonisation of Muslims and the fears this has created amongst some people, he said: ‘Our job in Newham is to expose this fear.’
Elaine Heffanan, from Newham UNISON, said: ‘We took our banner on this demonstration with its slogan: “Unity is Strength”.
‘Our branch has expressed its concern over a police raid of 250 officers in our community.
‘We will not allow the isolation of the Muslim community and will unite against racism.
‘We want a real apology from the police. We demand a full inquiry.’
The father of Babar Ahmed, who has been imprisoned for the past two years and faces extradition to the United States, addressed the rally.
He said: ‘We have made a complaint about police brutality.
‘Instead of punishing the officers, they were commended for bravery.’
He concluded: ‘I urge you not to cooperate with the police because you will never get justice. Fight for your rights!’
George Galloway, the Respect MP for Tower Hamlets told the rally he did not agree with Babar Ahmed’s father’s statement concerning cooperation with the police.
He said that if you see people carrying out terrorist acts, shattering glass and killing people ‘you must report it to the police.
‘I know a gang of such terrorists. They are in 10 Downing Street.
‘They have killed hundreds of thousands of Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine.’
Galloway spoke of the children killed by the Israelis on a beach in Gaza and the role of Israeli premier Ehud Olmert.
‘He popped up next to Tony Blair in Downing Street. He was not arrested. He was described by Tony Blair as Britain’s best friend in the Middle East.’
Galloway continued: ‘Who authorised the shooting.’
‘If (Newham MP) Stephen Timms says no minister was involved and only the police, then we must sack (police chief) Ian Blair.
‘If it was a minister who sanctioned this raid, then it is the other Blair who must be sacked.’
The anger against the Blair government and the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair was expressed on placards and in slogans on the march.
The were banners of many of the local community organisations on the demonstration.
A lively contingent of Young Socialists marched behind their banner and were joined by a number of local youth from Forest Gate.
The marchers shouted: ‘Shame, shame Ian Blair! Our community will not live in fear.
‘Shoot to kill you do allow. Who commits the terror now?
‘Tony Blair, Ian Blair. Racism’s not welcome here.
‘Police terror in Forest Gate. This we’ll never tolerate.
‘Speaking out is never violence. This community will not be silenced!’
They also slammed ‘media lies’ and proposed ‘speak to the people of Forest Gate’.
The march was publicised as a display of ‘unity not fear’, referring to the intimidation caused by the raid of 250 police officers, some of whom were armed and who shot Mohammed Abdul Kadar.
The march organisers demanded: ‘A full and unqualified apology from the Metropolitan Police to be personally issued to those who were victims of these events.
‘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 the association of Islam with terrorism.
‘A full apology from the Prime Minister to the families and the community.’