leaders call for unity and peace
at the funeral service of man
whose fatal shooting by police
Hugh Muir and Diane Taylor
This article was published
on guardian.co.uk at 18.20 BST
on Friday 9 September
A version appeared
on p14 of the Main section section
of the Guardian
Saturday 10 September 2011.
It was last modified at 00.10 BST
on Saturday 10
Up to 1,000
mourners joined a cortege through the streets of Tottenham on Friday for the
funeral of Mark Duggan, the man whose shooting by police sparked rioting and
copycat disturbances in towns and cities across England.
They travelled by car and on foot from the home of Duggan's parents to the
Broadwater Farm estate in north London, where he grew up, stopping there for a
short vigil and emotional church service. Then the extraordinary procession
walked through the back streets for a graveside ceremony. A single voice sang
I'll Fly Away, and white balloons were released into the air.
Police mounted a "low-visibility" operation. There were uniformed officers
helping with the traffic but thousands of others were held in contingency
After weeks of speculation about Duggan and his character, and questions about
the exact circumstances of his shooting, senior community figures joined the
victim's friends and relatives for what was portrayed by most as a rebuttal of
the portrait drawn of him and of the community around Broadwater Farm.
"We reject the stigma that has been placed on this family and this community,"
Rev Nims Obunge told the congregation.
"Let mothers not come and bury their children any more. Let fathers not come and
weep over their children's graves. We have been scarred, marginalised,
stigmatised, but today we stand together.
"We say, not any more. We shall stop this. We take the death of Mark to show
that there is something wrong. We pray that his death will not be in vain, that
we learn what we need to learn and that we have a future that is ours to hold on
Stafford Scott, a community leader, said the circumstances surrounding Duggan's
death had forced the community to unify. "We believe there is no justice, there
is just us," he said. "This is a community that is battle-weary. I have known
four people in my life who have died in these circumstances. We will draw a
sense of togetherness. If there is to be a memorial to Mark let it be that our
young people come together and stick together."
The church service was held at the Pentecostal New Testament Church of God in
Wood Green, a district also scarred by last month's disturbances. Mourners heard
a tribute from Duggan's fiancee, Semone Brown. He was, she said: "My first real
love, we laughed together and cried together. We faced trials and tribulations
together. We had our ups and our downs but I always loved him. He gave me four
There were emotional scenes as Duggan's cousin Donna Martin began a eulogy. "I'm
going to find this difficult," she said. Mark would have said 'Balance,
balance,' which means 'Settle yourself'."
At that point she was overcome and seemed unable to continue. Sections of the
congregation urged her on with Duggan's own phrase, "balance, balance". She said
Duggan had a job at Stansted airport and recently submitted an application to
become a fireman, "obviously thinking about how he could help others".
She said he had a strong, positive bond with local children. "He encouraged them
to take part in lots of activities and would tell them were they went wrong and
how to put it right next time. He was just a big kid himself."
Duggan, she said, "was always seen as a peacemaker".
Her cousin had many enthusiasms, she said. "He enjoyed partying, dressed up to
the nines. He loved his bling and ting. What a smile he had. It used to take
over the whole of his face."
Martin said Duggan was en route in a cab to see his children and spoke to his
fiancee at 4.30pm. He died less than two hours later.
He was "asking if his dinner was ready. That was the last time he spoke to her."
The day began with friends and relatives assembling at the family home. They
were met by Bishop Kwaku Frimpong-Manson, who performed the internment service.
Among the relatives was his aunt Karen Hall. "I was the first person to see him
come into this world. Mark would have known that he isn't Al Capone. He is just
an average guy. He wouldn't have tried to fire on police," she said.
Bishop Frimpong-Manson said he knew Mark from childhood. "He was like my son and
I was angry when I read what was being said about him, because it was just
wrong. I know some youths get in trouble. No one is perfect. But he was just a
normal guy. I came to see the family and they said: 'No one is talking to us
about what happened to Mark.' Who would be happy to lose a child and find that
no one is talking to you?" he said.
As mourners prepared to set off from the house, the bishop called them to stand
on the pavement beside the wooden carriage, which was drawn by four white horses
with plumes. Around 60 did so.
"We come to stretch our hands towards the casket and thank God for Mark's life
as he begins his heavenly journey."
He urged the mourners to stretch their arms towards the carriage as he prayed.
Duggan's mother, Pam, wept, supported by a relative.
The cortege swelled at Broadwater Farm as people emerged from homes and offices.
The horse-drawn carriage stopped near the block Duggan lived in as a child.
Again mourners were implored to stretch their hands towards it. A few stepped
forward to tap on the carriage.
One hit the hardest. "He was a loveable rogue but we loved him," he said.
Among the mourners were the relatives of Cynthia Jarrett, whose death sparked
the Broadwater Farm disturbances in 1985; of Colin Roach, who died in Stoke
Newington police station, north London; and of Sean Rigg, who died while in the
custody of police in Brixton, south London.
Another there to "show solidarity" was Winston Silcott, who was wrongly
imprisoned for the murder of PC Keith Blakelock during the 1985 riots.
The IPCC is still investigating the 12 August shooting. It has said a
non-police-issue firearm was recovered from the scene.
suggest that Duggan was carrying the converted replica in a sock. But the family
say there is no proof of that, and say they've been told that no fingerprints
were found on the firearm.
• Tory HQ attacked as demonstration spirals out of control
• 35 arrested and 14 injured in violent clashes at Millbank
• Police admit being caught out by scale of student action
Wednesday 10 November 2010
Jeevan Vasagar, Paul Lewis and Nicholas Watt
This article was published on guardian.co.uk at 21.38 GMT
on Wednesday 10
A version appeared on p1
of the Main section section of the Guardian
11 November 2010.
It was last modified at 23.15 GMT
on Wednesday 10 November 2010.
Tens of thousands of students took to the streets of London today in a
demonstration that spiralled out of control when a fringe group of protesters
hurled missiles at police and occupied the building housing Conservative party
Tonight both ministers and protesters acknowledged that the demonstration – by
far the largest and most dramatic yet in response to the government's austerity
measures – was "just the beginning" of public anger over cuts. Police,
meanwhile, were criticised for failing to anticipate the scale of the disorder.
An estimated 52,000 people, according to the National Union of Students, marched
through central London to display their anger over government plans to increase
tuition fees while cutting state funding for university teaching. A wing of the
protest turned violent as around 200 people stormed 30 Millbank, the central
London building that is home to Tory HQ, where police wielding batons clashed
with a crowd hurling placard sticks, eggs and some bottles. Demonstrators
shattered windows and waved anarchist flags from the roof of the building, while
masked activists traded punches with police to chants of "Tory scum".
Police conceded that they had failed to anticipate the level of violence from
protesters who trashed the lobby of the Millbank building. Missiles including a
fire extinguisher were thrown from the roof and clashes saw 14 people – a mix of
officers and protesters – taken to hospital and 35 arrests. Sir Paul Stephenson,
Met police commissioner, said the force should have anticipated the level
ofviolence better. He said: "It's not acceptable. It's an embarrassment for
London and for us."
While Tory headquarters suffered the brunt of the violence, Liberal Democrat
headquarters in nearby Cowley Street were not targeted. "This is not what we pay
the Met commissioner to do," one senior Conservative told the Guardian. "It
looks like they put heavy security around Lib Dem HQ but completely forgot about
our party HQ."
Lady Warsi, the Tory party chair, was in her office when protesters broke in.
She initially had no police protection as the protesters made their way up the
fire stairs to the roof. Police who eventually made it to Tory HQ decided not to
evacuate staff from the building but to concentrate on removing the
The NUS president, Aaron Porter, condemned the actions of "a minority of idiots"
but hailed the turnout as the biggest student demonstration in generations. The
largely good-natured protest was organised by the NUS and the lecturers' union
the UCU, who have attacked coalition plans to raise tuition fees as high as
£9,000 while making 40% cuts to university teaching budgets. The higher fees
will be introduced for undergraduates starting in 2012, if the proposals are
sanctioned by the Commons in a vote due before Christmas. The NUS president told
protesters: "We're in the fight of our lives. We face an unprecedented attack on
our future before it has even begun. They're proposing barbaric cuts that would
brutalise our colleges and universities."
Inside parliament the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg – the focus of much
anger among protesters for his now abandoned pledge to scrap all tuition fees –
came under sustained attack, facing 10 questions on tuition fees during his
stand-in performance during prime minister's questions. He said there was
consensus across the parties about the need to reform the system.
Labour's deputy leader, Harriet Harman, said the rise in fees was not part of
the effort to tackle the deficit but about Clegg "going along with Tory plans to
shove the cost of higher education on to students and their families". She said:
"We all know what it's like: you are at freshers' week, you meet up with a dodgy
bloke and you do things that you regret. Isn't it true he has been led astray by
the Tories, isn't that the truth of it?"
Meanwhile one student won an unexpected concession from the coalition yesterday.
In answer to a question from a Chinese student during his trip to China, David
Cameron said: "Raising tuition fees will do two things. It will make sure our
universities are well funded and we won't go on increasing so fast the fees for
overseas students … We have done the difficult thing. We have put up
contributions for British students. Yes, foreign students will still pay a
significant amount of money, but we should now be able to keep that growth under
Additional reporting by Rachel Williams and Matthew Taylor
There were already signs of the violence to come as tens of
thousands gathered in south London's brilliant sunshine for the country's
biggest anti-poll tax demonstration.
A group of about 1,000 tried to form separately, black flags fluttering in the
breeze. A police inspector said to his officers: "Anyone with black flags,
they've all been warned that they're going to get arrested."
The head of the apparently good-natured march started passing Downing Street,
but by the time it reached Trafalgar Square scuffles were breaking out in
Whitehall. The objective of some demonstrators was undoubtedly the double line
of police behind the gates of Downing Street.
In Trafalgar Square the majority listened to speakers. Some headed south down
Whitehall, hurling anything they could lay their hands on at police. As the
platform appealed for people to go home peacefully, rioting spread into the
south-east corner of Trafalgar Square.
Riot police battling to push the crowd away from the area of the South African
embassy were repulsed by a barrage of bottles, sticks and plac ards. Cries of
"Kill them" and "Fascist scum" filled the air.
Many at the forefront appeared intoxicated, either by alcohol or by the
atmosphere of insurrection. Young men with blood pouring from head wounds
continued to hurl missiles.
A fire engine was attacked, as others shouted for it to be left alone. Mounted
police cantered past the embassy in a futile attempt to push demonstrators away.
They became targets for a hail of missiles.
Ten yards back from the hard core, police and the public watched the ferocity
with disbelieving faces.
Mounted, combat and ordinary uniformed police gradually forced demonstrators
northwards out of Trafalgar Square. But if calm had returned there, it was at
the expense of London's premier shopping streets. Hundreds of demonstrators ran
amok, smashing windows, looting and attacking cars, leaving banks wrecked.
The junction of Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street was typical of the chaos
facing police officers intent on rounding up scattered, determined groups. It
was becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate between rioters and
A police officer told a middle-aged couple: "We cannot guarantee your safety if
you move out of this area."
A boy of about 15 was in a telephone box yards from police: "They done Oxford
Street. I got a three hundred quid jacket and two left boots."
THE POLICE are to be supplied
with limited amounts of non-toxic tear smoke for use against armed criminals
trapped in a building, Sir Frank Soskice, Home Secretary, announced in the
There would be no long-term effect on any innocent person caught in the fumes,
he said. The Home Secretary was replying to Mr Rankin, Labour member for
Glasgow, Govan, who asked if the Metropolitan Police were equipped to use non-
lethal gas in an emergency.
“Arrangements are being made,” Sir Frank said, “to supply police forces in case
of need with limited amounts of non-toxic tear smoke, which causes temporary
incapacity but has no permanent harmful effects, for use in dealing with armed
criminals or violently insane persons in buildings from which they cannot be
dislodged without danger of loss of life. The tear smoke would not be used in
any other circumstances.”
The Home Secretary said he had in mind the case in which a violent lunatic had
barricaded himself in a house, possibly with a member of the public as hostage,
and where it would be impossible for the police to approach without the lives of
the officers or bystanders being endangered.
The statement did not mention the Metropolitan Police in particular, who have
their own arrangements with the Army to call for tear gas if necessary.
Our Defence Correspondent
writes: The gas which will be used is the same as that available to the Army
for riot control operations. It is called “CS” and was developed at the Chemical
Defence Experimental Establishment at Porton, Wiltshire.
Scientists claim that it is far more effective than the previous range of tear
gases which had remained largely unchanged since first being developed in the
It is a non-lethal, non-toxic gas tear smoke, with an immediate, but very
temporary effect. The victim has copious watering eyes and blurring of vision,
but not blackout.
Some 500 men, women and children were spreading out sleeping
bags and thankfully washing their feet in various church halls in Hounslow last
night after marching the 11 miles from Trafalgar Square on the first lap of
their descent upon Aldermaston.
About 1,000 more had returned to their homes in London, perhaps to march again
today. A lamplight meeting had evoked the first really lusty cheers of the day
as Mr Michael Foot denounced the recent Defence white paper as "the most
shameful statement ever made by a British government".
It was Mr Foot who had cried from the plinth on Nelson's Column in the morning,
as a cold sun played on some 4,000 faces: "This can be the greatest march in
Whatever the march may turn out to be, it had already called out a splendid
array of English faces, most intent on making clear their conviction that
nuclear weapons are evil and should be controlled or done away with.
It was a happy London holiday crowd as benign as the weather that favoured it
until the afternoon grey chill came down, no more combative than the empty
London streets through which the long procession made its way, across Trafalgar
Square to the Albert Memorial and then to Chiswick and Hounslow, the first stop
in the four-day march to the Atomic Energy Authority's weapons establishment at
The nearest thing to an incident was the cheerful booing as a policeman stopped
a troop of folk-dancers from entertaining the lunchtime picnickers with an
eightsome reel in front of Albert's statue.
Behind came 50 cars and coaches, one of them bearing that essential
morale-builder, the tea urn. "We've got 500 mattresses behind there," said Miss
Pat Arrowsmith, a pretty, large-eyed girl in a white pea-jacket, the organiser
of the whole well-mannered outing.
In the morning, though, the march was supposed to be silent, so as not to break
in on religious thoughts. Somewhere in Knightsbridge this proved too much for a
gay band of young people from Bermondsey, the boys in bowlers and camouflaged
jackets and jeans, the girls in ponytails and high heels and men's bright shirts
hanging over their skirts. They struck up Tannenbaum on a handy trumpet and
Miss Arrowsmith dropped back and explained about the silence. "We should be
delighted to have any sort of music after lunch, but meanwhile we should be
obliged if you would conform with us."
"Never mind," cried one of the elegant ones in bowler hats. "The music's in our
During the general strike the Prime Minister,
Baldwin, used the Armed Forces
and civilian volunteers to maintain services
THE Prime Minister broadcast a message to the nation on
Saturday night, in the course of which he said: “I have done my utmost to secure
an agreement on the basis of the Commission’s report, and when the time comes,
as I hope it soon may, to discuss the terms upon which the coal industry is to
be carried on, I shall continue my efforts to see that in any settlement justice
is done both to the miners and the owners.
“What, then, is the issue for which the Government is fighting? It is fighting
because while negotiations were still in progress the Trades Union Council
ordered a general strike, presumably to try to force Parliament and the
community to bend to its will. With that object the Trades Union Council has
decreed that the railways shall not run, that transport shall not move, that the
unloading of ships shall stop and that no news shall publish. The Trades Union
Council declared that this is merely an industrial dispute. But their method of
helping the miners is to attack the community.
“Who is attacking the standard of living of the people? Is it the Government who
had only sought to bring about a reasonable settlement of the mining dispute? Or
is it the Trades Union Council who have decreed a strike which, if continued,
cannot fail to increase unemployment, add to the burden of rates and taxes and
tend to lower the whole standard of life for the people?
“I wish to make it as clear as I can that the Government is not fighting to
lower the standard of living of the miners or of any section of the workers.”
On Monday last the projected meeting of all the trades' unions
of the metropolis took place for the ostensible purpose of presenting a memorial
addressed to his majesty, praying that he would be pleased to interfere to
prevent execution of the sentence passed on the six men convicted at Dorchester
of administering unlawful oaths.
The appointed place of assembling was Copenhagen Fields, an elevated piece of
ground west of the metropolis, which had been hired for the occasion at an
expense of £20.
The procession, consisting of nineteen trades, with the paraphernalia and
officers of lodges, headed by the central committee, all the unionists wearing
crimson ribbons and rosettes, commenced their march about half past nine
The petition or memorial was placed in a car, and borne by twelve brothers. The
deputation appointed to confer with Lord Melbourne, consisted of five persons
named Brown, Watkins, Hall, Maples, and Styles. On leaving Copenhagen House,
they were joined by Mr. Robert Owen (late of New Lanark), the Rev Dr. Wade in
full canonicals, wearing a robe of black silk, and a crimson collar round his
neck. The unionists proceeded … to Whitehall where the head of the procession
halted opposite the home secretary's office.
The numbers of the unionists in the procession, who were distinguished from "the
curious crowds" that flanked them by their crimson rosettes &c., were here
estimated by several competent judges at the Horse Guards as not exceeding 35 or
At twelve o'clock the deputation bearing the petition (which is described as two
feet in diameter) and accompanied by Dr. Wade and Mr. Owen were conducted to the
apartment of Mr. Phillips, the undersecretary of state, who stated that Lord
Melbourne could not see them and that he was only authorised to receive the
They went out and returned without Mr. Owen, and then Mr. Phillips said that
Viscount Melbourne was in the office, and that he had his directions to say that
his lordship could not receive a petition presented under such circumstances and
in such a manner.
[In one of its least far-sighted editorial notes, reprinted
here on March 29, the Manchester Guardian initially denounced the Tolpuddle
martyrs as "mischievous" and hoped their fates might serve as a deterrent to
oathing procedures by embryonic Lancashire trade unions. The issue haunted its
news columns until the sentences were remitted in 1836].