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Public Disorder (East London)

Volume 78: debated on Wednesday 1 May 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will call for a report from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis concerning incidents of public disorder which occurred at Forest Gate, east London, on Saturday 27 April; what was the cause and nature of the disturbance; how many persons were involved; how many persons were arrested; whether there were any injuries; what was the ethnic background of the persons involved; and if he will make a statement on the substance of the report.

I understand from the Commissioner that these incidents of public disorder occurred in connection with a march organised by the Newham police monitoring group, principally in support of seven people of Asian origin—the Newham seven—who are currently awaiting trial. Following some initial disorder, and the arrest of one demonstrator, the march halted outside Forest Gate police station. Missiles were thrown at police, and there was a sit-down protest. Eventually, after some further incidents of abuse and attacks on police officers, the remaining demonstrators were dispersed by police. A total of 1,500 people, of various ethnic backgrounds, were present at the beginning of the march. During the afternoon 11 police officers and two demonstrators were slightly injured. Thirty-three people were arrested, of whom 10 were white, 11 black and 12 of Asian origin.