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Alex Owolade, Movement for Justice
"The violence that took place last night was at the hands of the police"
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Saturday, 21 July, 2001, 13:27 GMT 14:27 UK
Brixton violence 'against racist police'
Alex Owolade, chairman of the Movement for Justice, in Brixton street
Alex Owolade: Police and politicians should take notice
An activist is claiming the Brixton violence was a rebellion against years of "racist injustice" by police.

On Friday night 27 people were arrested after an estimated 100 youths went on the rampage, looting and breaking shop windows.


The establishment is not taking our concerns seriously

Alex Owolade,
Movement for Justice
The violence followed the fatal shooting by police of a man they mistakenly believed had been brandishing a gun.

Alex Owolade, chairman of the anti-racist group Movement for Justice, said he was "proud" of the youths involved.

"What happened last night was the youth and the community rebelled against years of racist repression, and years of racist injustice at the hands of the police," he told the BBC.

He said there was "a sea change" which first happened in Bradford and now in Brixton, and that police and politicians should sit up and take notice.

Youth movement

Mr Owolade said: "What happened last night is the youth and the community said 'we've had enough', and things are going to change.

Derek Bennett
Derek Bennett was shot dead by police
"It's a sign that a movement in this country is growing, and it's going to start from the youth.

"I'm extremely proud of the young people last night, the hundreds that came out and were basically saying 'we've had enough, and we're not going to tolerate this any further'."

Mr Owolade said he did not believe there would be a proper investigation by police into Monday's shooting of Derek Bennett, who had been carrying an imitation gun cigarette lighter.

He added that he feared the establishment was trying to sweep the issue under the carpet.

"Everyone's telling us we must stay calm, we must stay calm, while we're getting abuse daily.

"The establishment is not taking our concerns seriously...that's what started last night."

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