Hundreds of people march in memory of those who died in state custody | Death in custody
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Hundreds of friends and relatives of those who died in prison or in custody have staged a procession through central London in remembrance and calling for justice for their loved ones.
Supporters of the United Friends & Families campaign gathered in Trafalgar Square on Saturday shortly after noon for the march, which has taken place in London every year since 1999.
They carried banners with photos and images of those they believed had died at the hands of the police and the state, and shouted their names as they marched.
“It’s an annual memorial. It is in memory of all the loved ones who have died at the hands of the state in the UK, and we remember them today, ”said Marcia Rigg, 57, of Mitcham.
Rigg’s brother Sean Rigg suffered a heart attack at Brixton Police Station in 2008 after being overpowered by police while suffering from an episode of mental illness. She is now president of the UFFC.
“This is a memorial procession as opposed to a protest march, even though it is a protest against the non-responsibility of one of these deaths in custody,” Rigg said. “I’m sure there isn’t a single family here that has received justice.
The UFFC was formed in 1997. Among the founding members was Brenda Weinberg, whose brother, Brian Douglas, was killed when he was hit on the head with a baton by a police officer in 1995.
Standing in the crowd with his daughter, Weinberg, now 61 from Wimbledon, said: “It’s just sad that 22 years later we’re still doing it and there are still new families. This is the sad part.
“It would have been Brian’s birthday yesterday.
After rallying in Trafalgar Square, protesters marched down Whitehall towards Downing Street. Rigg led the march, chanting the names of men and women including Jean Charles de Menezes, Joy Gardner, Olaseni Lewis and, most recently, Sarah Everard.
“We are in solidarity with Sarah Everard’s family, and my only wish is that they can be with us today; but we also walk with it, ”Rigg told The Guardian.
In Downing Street, the march shared space with a loud protest against the military coup in Sudan, the amplified voices of speakers fighting to be heard above the chants and airhorns of other protesters.
Among those who spoke was Ajibola Lewis, Olaseni Lewis’ mother. Her son died after being immobilized by police at the Royal Bethlem Hospital in south London in 2010, after voluntarily registering for a mental health episode.
“Seni was 23, she was a graduate,” she said. “He went to a place of care, but he was killed. “
Keshia Johnson had traveled from Manchester with her family. His 17-year-old brother, Ronaldo Johnson, died in April after the car he was in as a passenger crashed during a police chase.
“We just got beaten up by the police at IOPC [Independent Police Complaints Commission] for information, but we don’t know what happened, ”she said.
” It needs to change. It has to stop. “
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