The Justice for Mark Duggan campaign launched in public last night at the North London Community House in Tottenham. Up to 200 people attended through the course of the evening and heard about the struggle to uncover the truth about Mark Duggan’s murder.
Speakers included Carole Duggan, acclaimed poet Linton Kwesi Johnson and video activist Fidel Santigi of Riot From Wrong. All spoke about the long history of lies, cover-ups and media distortions associated with cases of death in custody or following contact with the police.
Mark’s family and friends condemned the media for its failure to critically examine the police narrative in cases of death in custody. Throughout the evening we heard moving words from Mark’s friends, many of whom have suffered further injustices since his death on 4 August 2011.
Trade union activists were also there, including Zita Holbourne from the PCS, Glenroy Watson from the RMT and Jenny Sutton from the UCU. They promised to campaign for solidarity with Justice for Mark Duggan among their fellow workers and in their unions. Diane Abbott MP sent a message of support to the meeting.
Speakers from a different backgrounds highlighted the commonalities of their struggles against state violence, racism and austerity. They all underlined the need for solidarity between all those struggles to take them all forward.
The meeting took place at a Turkish and Kurdish community centre near Bruce Grove station. Activists from those communities spoke of their experience of police repression, and how they fought it by campaigning based on principles of unity across struggles against the violence of the state.
Joy Gardner’s mother Myrna gave a damning account of how determined police and media could be to deny the reality of the racist deaths at the hands of the authorities. Jim Curran from the Irish Civil Rights Association spoke about the experience of the Irish community during the 1970s.
Becky Shah from the Hillsborough Justice Campaign gave an emotional account of how insidiously the press conspired with South Yorkshire Police to demonise working class Liverpool fans, beginning their cover-up while bodies were still warm.
Marcia Rigg, whose brother Sean Rigg died in police custody in 2008, said that consistent campaigning could win out over bullying from press and police. At the end of last year the Rigg family forced the Independent Police Complaints Commission to reopen a criminal investigation into Sean’s death.
The meeting closed with Carole sharing a letter from an anonymous source that detailed the systematic use of police informants by the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Trident. The letter alleged that Mark’s death was linked to police attempts to protect one of their major informants. “That is what Trident do: they pay people to infiltrate communities, black and Asian communities,” she said. “I believe this is why Mark was killed.”
Winning justice for Mark will not be easy. The first battle will be to undermine the barrage of myths and lies surrounding who he was and how he died. Justice for Mark Duggan has produced a mythbuster card laying out just some of the facts: justice4mark.com/myths.