11 Jan 2014

Duggan vigil: ‘No justice, no peace’

Hundreds of protesters chant anti-police slogans outside Tottenham police station during a vigil for Mark Duggan.

A smaller than expected crowd gathered outside the station in north London to protest against what Duggan’s family have branded a “perverse” inquest finding that he was lawfully killed by police.

The family have appealed for the event to remain peaceful, but the Metropolitan Police have said some demonstrators plan to “cause disorder”.

Mr Duggan’s mother Pamela and aunt Carole were joined by crowds carrying placards which read “Justice for Mark Duggan – 1476 deaths in custody or following police contact since 1990 not one conviction”.

The family of Sean Rigg, a black musician who died in Brixton police station, and supporters of the family of Roger Sylvester, a mentally ill man who died after being detained by police in Tottenham, joined the march.

Protesters shouted: “No justice, no peace” and anti-police slogans while a number of speakers aired grievances against the Met.

Duggan’s death at the hands of a Metropolitan Police marksman sparked riots across the country in 2011.

The Met statement said: “Today is a busy day in the capital and we have a policing operation in place across London. This includes having additional officers on standby that could respond to any incident that occurs.

Fears of trouble at vigil

“Part of this operation includes assessing all available information and intelligence, and we are aware of a limited amount of information that indicates a small number of people are expressing their desire to use this vigil as an opportunity.

“This information includes the intention of protest groups to attend and of people looking to provoke disorder.

“We will be ready to intervene immediately if required.”The statement added: “The family has expressed that they wish this vigil to be held in a dignified and peaceful manner.

“The MPS has met with the organiser to ensure that we can appropriately facilitate their plans.”

The police statement follows concerns that the crowds would clash with football fans going to see Tottenham Hotspur play Crystal Palace, but the match is set to go ahead at 3pm.

On Thursday Britain’s most senior police officer and Prime Minister David Cameron both urged supporters to remain calm at the vigil.

Police chief thanks family

The commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, thanked the Duggan family for their public calls for peace, and said: “A vigil is to commemorate Mark Duggan’s death, that’s what the vigil is about.

“It’s a terrible tragedy that someone’s lost a life in this case, and clearly the family want to register, I believe, their protest about the outcome of the inquest.

“They’ve got every right to do that, and we as the police have got every opportunity to facilitate that so that’s exactly what we will do.

“We will continue to talk to the family and others to keep our communications alive, and also to make sure, as I believe, that the protest will happen and that there won’t be disorder.”

Channel 4 News Midlands Correspondent Darshna Soni writes: 
In 2011, a peaceful vigil by Mark Duggan's family outside Tottenham police station sparked the worst riots in living memory. The Metropolitan Police was widely criticised for its response; in the critical first few hours when the disorder started to spread, the force was caught completely unawares. It did not have enough officers on duty and by the time they were drafted in it was too late.
Today, the force has promised that those mistakes will not be repeated.
We're told that there is already a "robust" policing plan in place. This includes having additional officers on standby, although the force won't reveal numbers.
The family will be marching to the same police station in Tottenham. Me Duggan's mother and aunt have said they are hoping for a calm and dignified day, without any trouble.
But they are aware there are those who will try to seek advantage of the vigil to try to cause trouble. I understand the police have been monitoring messages on social media sights from protest groups looking to provoke disorder.
An added complication is the Spurs match, which kicks off at the same time. The police will try to keep fans well away from the vigil, although this may not be possible.

Mr Duggan’s aunt Carole said that she wanted “no more violence”.

Unrest erupted after protests during the immediate aftermath of Mr Duggan’s death in August 2011.

He was shot dead by a police marksman after officers stopped the taxi in which he was travelling.Police believed he was going to collect a gun from another man, Kevin Hutchinson-Foster, and then travel on to Broadwater Farm, also in Tottenham.

Verdict of lawful killing

More than two years on, anger again spilled over at the Royal Courts of Justice on Wednesday, when an inquest jury found that he was lawfully killed.

They said it was most likely that he had a gun with him in the minicab, but had thrown it onto a nearby grass verge before he was shot.

Family and friends of the father-of-six shouted and swore, and his brother Marlon had to be physically restrained as the conclusions were read.

Outside the court, Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley was drowned out by protesters shouting “murderers” and “scum” as he tried to make a statement on Scotland Yard’s behalf.