Thursday, 23 September 2010


Silent Procession along Whitehall followed by Noisy Protest at Downing Street!


Further info: contact United Families & Friends Campaign:

Join the Facebook group:

Tuesday, 14 September 2010


This from INQUEST:


Olaseni Lewis, known to his family as Seni, was a young black man aged 23 years, engaged in post-graduate Masters studies in IT and Business Management at Kingston University. He had no prior history of mental illness or any untoward behaviour until the evening of Sunday 29 August 2010 when his family and friends noticed that he was behaving strangely, alternating between calm and agitated phases. They sought professional help, resulting eventually in his admission as a vulnerable voluntary patient at the Bethlem Royal Hospital early in the evening of Tuesday 31 August 2010. Within hours of leaving him at the hospital, however, they were to learn that he had collapsed after being restrained by police officers who had been called by hospital staff. Seni was taken by ambulance to Mayday Hospital where brain stem death was confirmed following tests on 3 and 4 September 2010.

Seni’s family and friends are determined to ensure that all the circumstances of his tragic death are brought under proper scrutiny so that they can obtain the answers that they need from those responsible for the fatal restraint and those to whom their loved one had been entrusted. To that end, they will be keeping a close eye on the investigations that are said to have been launched by the Independent Police Complaints Commission and the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.

Deborah Coles, co-director of INQUEST, that is working with the family and their lawyer said:

This is a deeply disturbing death and it is vital both for the family and the public that there is a rigorous, far-reaching investigation into the fatal restraint of a vulnerable black man in need of care and protection. INQUEST has worked on far too many cases where dangerous restraint has resulted in the deaths of vulnerable people, a disproportionate number of whom are from black and minority ethnic communities.

The family and friends of Seni Lewis are grateful for all the very many messages of support and condolence that they have received in the wake of his untimely death earlier this month. For the rest, they would ask all representatives of the media to respect their privacy so that they can grieve for their loved one in peace, and they will not be making any further comment at this stage.

Notes to editors:

INQUEST is the only organisation in England and Wales that provides a specialist, comprehensive advice service on contentious deaths and their investigation to bereaved people, lawyers, other advice and support agencies, the media, parliamentarians and the wider public. Its casework priorities are deaths in prison and in police custody, in immigration detention and in secure training centres. INQUEST develops policy proposals and undertakes research to campaign for changes to the inquest and investigation process, reduce the number of custodial deaths, and improve the treatment and care of those within the institutions where the deaths occur.

INQUEST is represented on the Ministerial Council on Deaths in Custody and the Ministry of Justice Coroner Service Stakeholder Forum.

Please refer to INQUEST the organisation in all capital letters in order to distinguish it from the legal hearing.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Support anti-fascist Martin Smith in court on 7 September

This from the Unite Against Fascism website:

Trade unionists and artists back Martin Smith at court hearing

PCS union leader Mark Serwotka and Drew McConnell of indie band Babyshambles will be speaking out in support of UAF officer Martin Smith, who faces serious charges after the demo against British National Party leader Nick Griffin’s appearance on the BBC’s Question Time.

Martin, who is also national coordinator of our sister campaign Love Music Hate Racism, was arrested on the protest and has been charged with assaulting a police officer. He strenuously denies the charge.

Mark Serwotka and Drew McConnell – pictured with Martin at last year’s LMHR festival in Stoke – will be speaking at a protest outside the court. They will be joined by former UCU general secretary Paul Mackney, Zita Holbourne, joint chair, Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (Barac), Rock Against Racism founder Roger Huddle and LMHR supporters The King Blues.

Join us outside the court
Please support Martin by joining us outside the court.

9am Tuesday 7 September
South Western Magistrates Court, 176a Lavender Hill, London SW11 1JU
Bring your banners!

The court is just up the road from Clapham Junction station (see map). Nearest tubes: Clapham South and Clapham Common.

UPDATE – TUBE STRIKE: There is set to be a tube strike on the day of the hearing – use Clapham Junction rail station (5 mins from Waterloo or Victoria). Bus routes 35, 37, 39, 49, 77, 87, 156, 170, 219, 295, 319, 337, 344, 345, C3 and G1 all stop close to the court. Please allow extra time to travel by bus because it is rush hour and buses will be crowded during the strike.

Trade union support
We’re asking trade unionists to support Martin by passing the model motion below and making a donation towards court costs. The RMT London Fleet 960 branch has done just that, with a £200 contribution.

Don’t forget to let us know if your organisation backs the motion – email us with the name of your union branch or group or drop us a line to the postal address below.

model motion