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Saturday, July 24, 1999 Published at 19:03 GMT 20:03 UK


Rally for end to 'Yardie' killings

People were told to help the police to protect the community

Black people in London have been urged to help the police stamp out the violence on the streets of the capital by turning over those responsible.

Thirteen people have been killed this year, in suspected feuds involving black gangsters.

London mayor candidate Trevor Phillips told a rally of more than 100 people that the only way to take violence out of the community was to give information to the police. The rally was held in Brixton, south London.

"There is a massacre going on our streets and the fact the people being massacred are black does not make it less important than anything else that has happened in our community," he said.

"We do not care where the killers are coming from. We don't care if they come from Harlesden, Brixton or Brooklyn.

DJ Westwood Yardie link

"We are going to take them down because they will destroy our community."

The upsurge of violence has been attributed to the Yardies - criminals who come originally from Jamaica and who have spawned many imitators among black British youth.

Earlier this week, Radio 1 rap DJ Tim Westwood was wounded in a drive-by shooting in Kennington, south London.

The police first thought Mr Westwood was shot in a Yardi-style turf war. But Channel 4 News has reported that he was a victim of a primary Yardie scam, in the shape of protection rackets.

The programme said Mr Westwood had been asked to pay for protection money and when he refused, he was shot.

Arlene Mundle, a member of the Community Service Consultative Group, told the BBC that the group was using the rally as an opportunity to tell people to "stop before it's too late".

"We're asking the youths to stop," she said. "Is it really worth it? When the authorities come down on them, they will come down heavily."

Scotland Yard has set up a specialist squad to investigate the killings and drive-by shootings.

Officers in Operation Trident are looking for links between all the recent attacks.

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