LONDON — On Sunday, November 21, 2004, more than 100 Africans gathered on the streets of Brixton for the “Justice for Ricky Bishop March.” Ricky Bishop was a young African brother who was murdered by Brixton police during its “Operation Clean Sweep” three years earlier on November 22, 2001.
Led by the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement, and with the full support and participation of Ricky Bishop’s family, Africans lined the streets demanding that each one of Ricky Bishop’s murderers — Police Constables (PC) McDaniel, Atkins, Rees, Lane, Wood, Luke, Wilson, Gittins, Molyneux, Davis and Johnston — be arrested and put on trial for the brutal slaying of Ricky.
Throughout the march, participants chanted that these officers, along with the rest of the British police force are “Murderers” and “Terrorists!” Ricky Bishop was Doreen Bishop’s only son and he also left behind a daughter, and so chants also called for reparations to be paid to his family.
One could not ignore the politically advanced ideas that were espoused throughout the march, with Africans calling for an end to the public policy of police containment of the black community, which is, in essence, a military occupation of African communities throughout London and the world.
The community acknowledged not only the innocence of Ricky Bishop, who never sold drugs one day in his life, but the guilt of Tony Blair and the rest of the British government as the true drug pushers.
One of the primary demands made in the march was that the police, as an institution, must be under the control of the community. It was made quite clear that the brutal military force known as the British police must withdraw from the African community and that the inhabitants of the community must be allowed to take responsibility for the policing and safekeeping of the entire community.
This demand was put to the test on the day of the march as a brother who joined the march got into a confrontation with the police and was about to be arrested. An altercation began between one of the police and this brother and he could no longer hold back the aggression every African feels towards the occupying army known as the police.
The group of officers who, by English law, must accompany any demonstration, immediately rushed to this African in order to arrest him and perhaps even deliver to him the same fate they had dealt young Ricky Bishop three years earlier. But this group of officers obviously underestimated the power of the people.
With not even a moment’s delay, the mass of African people in the demonstration rushed to the aid of this African man and wrested him from the clutches of the police officers. Many of the Africans who responded did not actually see what initially transpired between the African and the police, but they knew what the police are capable of and the role they play within our communities.
The myth of police invincibility instantly faded away, and all that remained were a small group of English men with fear in their eyes. Their frailty was exposed as they were easily overpowered by the participants of the march and order was restored.
“The myth of police invincibility instantly faded away, and all that remained were a small group of English men with fear in their eyes. Their frailty was exposed as they were easily overpowered by the participants of the march and order was restored.”
The ushers on the march, all members of the Uhuru Movement, were instrumental in organizing protection for the African who the police had tried to arrest and also calming him as he was obviously suffering from illness.
Though the police were defeated, it was plain to see that they could not accept African people in complete control of their own march and their own communities, and so they called for reinforcements. Being completely aware of the police’s intentions to arrest the man when the reinforcements arrived, the people revealed their strategic brilliance, first, in having the man lifted by car, and then, by forming a blockade in the road which prevented the van full of police from pursuing the vehicle.
This action was well received by everyone on the march and there is no doubt that the participants of the march, under the leadership of the Uhuru Movement, saved this African from death or jail. This gave everyone just a taste of what community control of the institutions within our community means.
Despite this unexpected incident between the pigs and the people, the focus of the march never shifted from Ricky Bishop and other victims of police containment of the African community.
Sister Doreen Bishop, the mother of Ricky Bishop, addressed participants on the march with brave words while speaking about her son, speaking about the police, and speaking about the case. Sister Doreen is a courageous sister who has pledged not only to fight for the cause of her son, but to fight on behalf of African people as a whole.
This was done both at the site where Ricky Bishop was first arrested, and at the end of the march, in front of the police station where Ricky was beaten to death.
In addition to Doreen’s words, testimonies were given outside the police station by various Africans, candles were lit and tributes made, and Ricky Bishop’s young daughter even laid down a wreath in honor of her father, slain at the hands of the police.
The march ended outside the police station where there was an air of confidence about the Africans involved in the march. It was not just confidence but resoluteness — determination that the police will not be allowed to jail and kill members of our community one by one.
The need for African people to have organization to win control over our own lives was given great emphasis. The Uhuru Movement stands at the forefront of the fight for African people’s democratic rights and the self-determination. African people united can never be defeated!
Jail the police murderers of Ricky Bishop!
Reparations to the family of Ricky Bishop!
Defeat the Public Policy of Police Containment!
Economic Development for the African Community!