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UFFC Rally 2011

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Deaths in custody: Families demand answers and justice…

by Patrick Ward | Socialist Worker
published: 1st November 2011

Over 500 people defied police intimidation as they marched to Downing Street in London last Saturday, calling on the government to take action over deaths in custody.

The march, organised by the United Families and Friends Campaign (UFFC), was led by family members of those who have died, and who still seek justice for their loved ones.

Marcia Rigg, whose brother Sean Rigg died in Brixton police station in 2008, spoke to Socialist Worker.

“This is the 13th annual march to Downing Street, and the 13th year a letter has been delivered to the prime minister outlining our concerns,” she said. “But they’ve never engaged meaningfully with the families.

“In light of the recent shooting of Mark Duggan in Tottenham, and the following community unrest, it’s now imperative that the issue of deaths in custody is put at the top of the political agenda. It’s institutionalised and, I’d suggest, it’s embarrassing for them.”

The demonstrators set off from Trafalgar Square in a silent procession down Whitehall. The marchers wore black, and took around an hour to reach Downing Street down the short stretch of road.

The march was larger than the previous year. This is partly because of the growing concern over the issue, but also, tragically, because more people die each year after police contact.

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Families protest against UK deaths in police custody

all credits: PressTV
published: 29th October 2011

Once again, this year, like every year hundreds gathered for the annual march against deaths in police custody in Britain. Most of those here are family members who say they have lost loved ones at the hands of the police. Like the family of Sean Riggs who died on 21 August 2008.

A 40-year old musician, he was arrested in the street by four officers and taken to a nearby police station. He was placed in a metal cage in the yard. 20 minutes later he was dead.

The annual event is now entering its 13-th year and every year the list of those who have died grows longer. Organizers were handing out posters with the names of 3,180 individuals since 1969. Sadly one of the latest to be added to that list was 48-year old Smiley Culture. He died from a single stab wound to the heart. His family were told he stabbed himself while making a cup of tea. His nephew Merlin was at the march.

Standing behind me are the many families who have lost loved ones, they say at the hands of police, they are ready to march on downing street demanding justice.


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