Solidarity follows wave of racist attacks
Published Aug 4, 2005 9:35 PM
The escalation of racist profiling in
Britain’s “war on terror” is flashing a green light to white
supremacists and anti-immigrant bashers. However, as state repression and the
bigotry it generates grow, so too do expressions of unity from people of all
Anthony Walker was a victim of the racist terror. The Black
18-year-old student, his 17-year-old white girlfriend and his 17-year-old cousin
suffered a “torrent of racial abuse” from a racist in front of a pub
July 29 as they stood at a Liver pool bus stop at 11:30 p.m. They tried to leave
the area, but were confronted by a gang of reportedly three or four lynchers.
Walker’s cousin and girlfriend ran to get help. When they returned, they
found Walker dead, an axe stuck in his skull.
Grief and rage brought more
than 1,000 people out to rally with Walker’s family on Aug. 2. The Walker
family stood on the steps of St. George’s Hall, flanked by anti-racists
from Unite Against Fascism, the Merseyside Coalition Against Racism, politicians
and religious leaders.
Gee Walker told those gathered that she felt
overwhelmed by the “sea of faces” and the wave of support she is
getting following her son’s murder. “I am receiving letters from
people I don’t even know—from America, from Canada, phone calls from
Ireland, you name it, and letters of condolence. I don’t know how to thank
you, I applaud all of you and thank you from my heart.”
thanked her son’s friends in the crowd for the tributes they have paid to
Leroy Shepherd held up a photo of Walker, his nephew: “If your
son or my son is walking down the street with a white girl and people see it and
they don’t like it, are they going to kill him? This isn’t right. It
has got to stop. You have got to stop it now.”
Labor MP Edward O’Hara tried to dismiss the horrific
murder of Walker as “random, excep tional and representative of absolutely
Huyton, where the attack occurred, is a middle-class area
of roughly 40,000 in which Black families are 1.4 percent of the population.
David Okoro, Walker’s cousin, told the Liverpool Echo, “There
have been examples over the past year and a half of our family suffering racism,
particularly the children. That’s not a secret.”
emphasized, “Liverpool can change things by challenging this behavior and
not condoning it.
“Judging by the amount of tributes and messages
of support, it has shown that the people of Huyton are standing up against this.
That has restored some of my faith in the people in this area.”
of the first victims of this wave of racist attacks was a Brazilian killed by
trigger-happy police after the government approved a “shoot-to-kill”
policy following the London bombings. A public memorial for Brazilian Jean
Charles de Menezes—pinned down by plainclothes British police while they
pumped eight bullets into his body—took place in London’s Parliament
Square on July 29, coinciding with a memorial in his homeland.
eventually admitted by the police that Menezes had nothing to do with the
bombings and that the police attack on him was a
Angry protests in Brazil demanding justice targeted
the British Embassy in Brasilia and the British consulates in Rio de Janeiro and
Menezes’ body was returned to his hometown of Gonzaga, a
rural town of some 6,000 residents. Police estimated that more than 10,000
people passed by his coffin. Stores and homes were draped in the colors of the
Brazilian flag. At the burial, the crowd applauded Menezes, a tradition at
burials of dignitaries.
The signs around his hometown express the mood
succinctly: “We want justice!” demands one sign. Another reads:
“Jean, martyr of British terrorism!”
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