Police have moved to fine a Black Lives Matter (BLM) activist in Cardiff, South Wales, after she was part of protests over the death of Mohamud Mohammed Hassan.
Bianca Ali has been told she has to pay £500 unless she requests a court hearing under coronavirus laws. These laws clamp down on civil liberties and grab more powers for the state and police.
She remains defiant and told Socialist Worker, “They will never keep me quiet, I will always speak out against injustice."
Bianca was part of a series of furious protests outside Butetown police station demanding justice for Mohamud’s family. He was arrested on Friday 8 January following an alleged disturbance, but released without charge the following morning.
He died later that night.
The BLM Cardiff group said, “The police took two riot vans to Bianca's house and were banging repeatedly on her door. Please tell us why, other than disgusting intimidation tactics, that was needed?”
“As we said before, we did not organise these protests.”
BLM Cardiff added that “if anyone organised these protests, it’s the South Wales Police” because of their actions. “What did they expect people to do?” the group posted on Instagram.
“The movement cannot be stopped.”
BLM Cardiff had raised more than £1,500 for the fines, pledging to pay the extra money to the Justice4Mohamud campaign.
Hundreds of people protested outside the police station on Wednesday, which followed a larger protest on Tuesday. The protesters agreed to demonstrate daily until the family gets justice.
Signs read, “South Wales Police must answer,” and, “Justice 4 Mohamud” while people chanted, “Black Lives Matter,” and, “Release the footage.”
South Wales Police says all relevant information has been handed over to the cops’ pet watchdog, Independent Office for Police Conduct. This includes CCTV and bodycam footage.
South Wales police and crime commissioner—and former Welsh Labour first minister—Alun Michael called on people to be “patient” to “allow the investigation to take place”.
But Bianca slammed calls for patience and calm. “The officers involved are still on duty,” she told Socialist Worker. “There's a long history of violence and racism within South Wales Police.
“We want to be a part of the investigation, a short line every day from South Wales Police isn’t good enough.
“It doesn’t shock me that Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer haven’t commented. It confirms to me that the whole system is racist.”
Many protesters were frustrated by the media describing them as angry and violent. “We have a right to be angry,” said Bianca. “That comes from a place of passion and heartbreak.”
Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) Cardiff said, “We call for this investigation to be swift and transparent.
“Historically, South Wales Police has seen numerous officers charged for crimes, including the rape of two women and has convicted and falsely imprisoned black men for murder.
“It is not just, and it continually shows us where their loyalty lies.”
Mohamud’s family claim he was assaulted by South Wales Police.
His aunt, Zainab Hassan, said that he was released with “lots of wounds on his body.” "Nothing we do is going to bring him back but we will not rest for a second until we have justice," she said.
A neighbour reported that Mohamud’s grey tracksuit was covered in blood and that his mouth was severely injured.
IOPC director for Wales Catrin Evans said, ”Preliminary indications are that there is no physical trauma injury to explain a cause of death.”
Solicitor Hilary Brown asked how “a young, healthy man was arrested by South Wales Police with no apparent injuries to his body”. But then “as a result of being released from Cardiff Bay police station he was badly marked with bruising and cuts, and within hours was dead.”
"We want to know whether the allegations he made against officers of South Wales Police of being assaulted has contributed in any way to his demise,” she said.
Community activists have collectively raised over £45,000 to cover legal and funeral costs.
Protesters’ determination is inspiring. They will not give in without a fight.
Police in Cardiff and London have moved to fine protesters involved in demonstrations over the death of Mohamud Hassan.
Four people were arrested in London last Saturday and more were fined.
A protester who received a £200 fine told Socialist Worker, “We were in Parliament Square and a large number of police told us that we needed to disperse.
“They said they were going to give me a slip, and if I tried to leave, they said they would arrest me.
“I asked them what this meant, and they said I was getting a £200 fine.”
Bianca Ali in Cardiff, has also been told she will have to pay £500 under new coronavirus laws.
The Black Lives Matter Cardiff group said, “The police took two riot vans to Bianca’s house and were banging repeatedly on her door.
“Please tell us why, other than disgusting intimidation tactics, that was needed?”