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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 June 2006, 19:13 GMT 20:13 UK
Marchers demand apology over raid
Abul Koyair at the march

Campaigners demonstrated in east London over recent anti-terror raids, calling for a full police apology.

Hundreds of people took to the streets near Forest Gate, east London, scene of a massive police raid on 2 June.

Brothers Mohammed Abdulkahar, 23, and Abul Koyair, 20, spent several days in custody following the raid. They were later released without charge.

Muddassar Ahmad, a spokesman for the organisers, said: "We clearly, clearly want an apology - unqualified."

Mr Abdulkahar was shot in the shoulder during the raid.

Mr Koyair helped lead the march, which ended with a rally in a local park. They walked 100 yards (300 ft) from the site of the raided house in Lansdown Road.

Protesters marched behind a 20ft banner which read "Newham demands justice". Police estimate between 1,500 and 2,000 people took part in the march.

'Very isolated'

On Tuesday the two brothers held a press conference where they gave an emotional account of the police raid, which involved some 250 police.

After this, the Metropolitan Police's Assistant Commissioner Andy Hayman released a statement in which he apologised for the "hurt" officers may have caused the men.

Mr Ahmad added: "What's needed now is confidence-building measures - the community is feeling very isolated.

Marchers in Forest Gate on Sunday 18 June
Up to 2,000 people are taking part

"Police officers have admitted privately that years of confidence-building have been put back."

Mr Koyair addressed the rally and told the crowd: "I just want to say thank you all for supporting our family in this very hard time."

He said: "(We) don't want this to happen to other people in this community, Muslim (or) non-Muslim."

The statement was released on behalf of community groups and Muslim organisations, and asked for an apology not only from Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair but also from Prime Minister Tony Blair.

I cannot see how the police are going to get any intelligence from the Muslim community now after what's occurred
Protester on the march

Organisers told the BBC they wanted to show their "peaceful, democratic right".

Another man said: "I think there is a lot anger on the street, really, right now.

"At this point in time, people are very much angry about what occurred, they're angry at the nature of the arrest, they're angry at the evidence that was used, they're angry at the sensationalism in the media.

'Sack the other Blair'

"I cannot see how the police are going to get any intelligence from the Muslim community now after what's occurred."

Respect MP George Galloway called for high-level sackings in the wake of the raid.

Speaking before Minister for Pensions Reforms Stephen Timms, the local MP, he said: "If Mr Timms tells us there was no minister involved, that it was all the responsibility of the police, we must sack Sir Ian Blair.

"But if it was not the police but the government who authorised this terror raid on Lansdown Road then we must sack the other Blair."

Mr Timms was booed when he tried to speak. He said: "We need to acknowledge that the police have an extraordinarily hard job to do on behalf of all of us.

"It would be great if it were possible to do that without any mishaps at all, we all know, sadly, in reality it isn't."

'Shooting to kill'

The protesters were also joined by relatives of Jean Charles de Menezes, the innocent Brazilian man mistakenly shot by police at Stockwell Tube in July 2005.

Mr Menezes' cousins Alex Pereira and Patricia Armani wore Brazilian football shirts with Menezes and the number 27 on the back. They spoke at the rally, criticising police tactics during the raid on the two brothers.

Yasmin Khan, a spokeswoman for the de Menezes campaign, said: "The family are here to lend support to the two brothers.

Abul Koyair, 20, and his injured brother Mohammed Abdulkahar
The brothers held an emotional press conference last week

"The key issue is one year on from Jean Charles's killing police have not learnt any of the lessons.

"The same policy, in terms of shooting to kill, is in place."

Speakers at the rally urged people in the community to unite, and asked non-Muslims to visit mosques and talk with members of the Islamic community to improve feelings.

A neighbour from number 48 Lansdown Road told those gathered at the rally that his uncle had been injured at the raid and that police had acted "like animals".




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