Killed when police charged in 1979…but still no justice
April 11, 2009
The shocking images of events leading up to the death of Ian Tomlinson – showing him apparently being knocked to the ground by a policeman – are a chilling reminder of a case exactly 30 years ago.
An inquest has now been opened into the death of newspaper seller Mr Tomlinson, 47, who died on a London street amid last week’s G20 protests. And a police officer has been suspended over the incident.
But the news reports will have seemed too frighteningly familiar to the family and friends of Blair Peach.
Blair, a 33-year old teacher, died while taking part in a demonstration against the National Front in Southall, West London, on April 23, 1979. He was killed when 3,000 policemen attempted to disperse protesters.
One eyewitness said at the time: “
I have never seen such unrestrained violence against demonstratorsThe great majority of the police, seemingly ever-patient and self-controlled, stood for hours as kids baited and yelled, shoved and provoked. A handful of officers used well-placed elbows while batons were raised only in response to the vandalism…”
See also : Kevin Gately (1974: Man dies in race rally clashes, BBC, June 15) | Gurdip Singh Chaggar (Chaggar was murdered by “young fascist thugs in the heart of Southall [one of the centres of the Asian community in London] [that] had led to clashes with the police (who held that the murder was not necessarily racial)… In 1978, Judge McKinnon ruled that the National [Front] leader Kingsley Read’s pronouncement on Chaggar’s murder — ‘one down, one million to go’ — did not constitute incitement to racial hatred… ‘In this England of ours’, the good judge observed, ‘we are allowed to have our own view still, thank goodness, and long may it last.’” ::: “On 13 August 1977, the far-right National Front attempted to march from New Cross to Lewisham in South East London. Local people and anti-racists from all over London and beyond mobilised to oppose them, and the NF were humiliated as their march was disrupted and banners seized”) | Liddle Towers (1976: Towers told his friend: “They gave us a bloody good kicking outside the Key Club, but that was nowt to what I got when I got inside.”) | Colin Roach (1983: “Colin Roach, aged 21 years, died in January 1983 after receiving a fatal gunshot wound in 1983 while in the custody of Stoke Newington police station, London. He is alleged by the police to have shot himself in the mouth. Authorities alleged that he had committed suicide after entering the Stoke Newington Police Station. Many believed that there was reason to doubt this story and instead argued that Roach was murdered by police.” 26 Years On — Colin’s Story, 4WardEver Campaign UK, January 10, 2009) | “Since 1969 there have been over 1,000 deaths in police custody in Britain. No police officers have ever been successfully prosecuted for manslaughter”: Injustice: A film by Ken Fero, Paul Bond, wsws.org, May 31, 2001 | ‘An Institutional State of Denial’, William Bowles, October 27, 2003…
- National Front
Stuck in a rock and a hard place between the slick professionalism of the BNP, and the street thuggery of the White Nationalist Party. The NF’s ability to steer a path for itself will determine whether it continues as a shadow of its former self, or if it joins the BNP as a party of some significance. A street march in London early in 2004 drew well under 50 marchers…
Do say: “The National Front is the name most synonymous with fascism in Britain.”
Don’t say: “Having marches every now and then’s not really working is it?”
If the police officers who witnessed the assault on Ian Tomlinson will not come forward voluntarily, then we ourselves must drag them into the public arena
Bristle’s Blog from the BunKRS
April 11, 2009
Tonight I have been working through all the photographs and video of the attack on Ian Tomlinson that was witnessed shortly before his death.
I have taken as many screengrabs as possible, and attempted to identify what officers were in the shot at any one time. So far, we are told, just four officers in total have come forward. As these pictures show, there are at least eighteen police officers close enough to see what happened last Wednesday on Royal Exchange Buildings by Cornhill.
I hope that these pictures might help jog the memory of someone – anyone – who was in London that day. Perhaps you took a photograph of a policeman whom you think you recognise here – a photograph which is clearer, perhaps even showing a number on an epaulette or a helmet. Please do check through your pictures and compare them with these.
Or maybe you weren’t in London on the 1st of April, but you happen to recognise a relative, or an acquaintance from your local, or a neighbour. If you do, please don’t just leave it be.
If enough people – ordinary people, people like us – take the time and trouble to hold those responsible (through their action or their inaction) for the death of Ian Tomlinson, force them to come forward and be held accountable, then we might – just might – help prevent this happening again, only next time to your father, my mother, our friends, our loved ones. Don’t leave it to the IPCC.
See also : Police ‘assaulted’ bystander who died during G20 protests (April 5, 2009) | Ian Tomlinson…; BIT OF STICK; Riot policeman’s hands viciously assaulted by Ian Tomlinson’s back (April 8, 2009) | G20 : Idiotorial (April 10, 2009) | The World (of G20) According To Paola Totaro (April 11, 2009)
The great majority of the police, seemingly ever-patient and self-controlled, stood for hours as kids baited and yelled, shoved and provoked. A handful of officers used well-placed elbows while batons were raised only in response to the vandalism.
~ G20 protesters strike at London’s heart, Paola Totaro, The Age, April 2, 2009