There was a powerful outpouring of grief, mourning and anger in central London on Saturday. Up to 5,000 people came together to remember Chris Kaba and to protest against the police who killed him last week.
Signs read “Black Lives Matter”, “Justice for Chris Kaba” and “Abolish the Met”. Repeated chants of “No justice, no peace” and “Police are the murderers” filled the air.
At the beginning as people assembled in Parliament Square the cries of Helen Nkama, Chris’s mother echoed around the sombre gathering. The grieving family led the march, it took regular stops as the family needed breaks. “We will go at the pace of grief,” a steward said.
Mike one of the marchers said, “I’m here to show that there are people out here that care about this. They need to charge a cop quickly—people should be brought to justice. If it was a white person killed there would be a lot more questions being answered.”
The march went up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square before heading to Scotland Yard. It was at this point Sky News bizarrely and offensively declared it was a crowd of mourners for the queen. At the point their helicopter took the pictures people were chanting, “Say his name! Chris Kaba!”
On the march, Andrea said, “There is a lot of noise because a very old woman died peacefully. But we are here because the cops executed a young man and nothing is going to be done about it. Another marcher Zak said, “If I’m honest, I am scared. I am definitely sad but I am also really angry, raging that this keeps happening. We have to come together—it is what we can do.”
Labour MPs Diane Abbott and Bell Ribeiro-Addy spoke before the march. At Scotland Yard a rally heard Temi Mwale of 4frontproject, Deborah Coles from INQUEST, activists Lee Jasper and Stafford Scott and others.
Stormzy told the crowd, “I just encourage everyone to have stamina. I know it’s a very difficult thing to say because no one should have the stamina to go on a journey like this to get justice or to get answers but, when these people do these things, they get away with it. Have the stamina to keep going because they have killed someone, that’s murder. Just keep going, because the family needs you.”
Delia Mattis from Black Lives Matter said, “Black people don’t have a history of violence against the police. The police have a history of violence against black people.” On the route “Touch one, touch all” was the chant when the police came a little too close than the marchers thought respectful.
Weyman Bennett from Stand Up to Racism told the crowd, “The only weapons we have are unity and solidarity. We need to use them and we need to abolish the Metropolitan police.”
Chris’s cousin Jefferson spoke for the family, “One word that has remained at the forefront of my mind, that I kept repeating to myself, that I desperately need an answer to—that word was why. Why did you not have mercy on him as he sat in the car, defenceless, unarmed, scared and terrified?
“Why did you destroy the possibility for me to tell him that I love him and why did you destroy the possibility for him to reply I love you too big cuz. Why does his mother have to grow old whilst her first-born child lies six foot under?
“Why did you take a friend, a loving partner, a son, a confidante, a soon-to-be father? As much as that police officer lays bare the hatred that exists in this world, the countless people who have come together offering all kinds of support lays bare the love that will always exist to fight against it.
“Chris’s warmth has since left us but we’ve all kept his warmth alive when we came together for him. There’s a tree called the redwood tree, they’re extremely tall though their roots are extremely shallow. These are one of the strongest trees in that they rarely fall over.
“How could such a tall tree be so strong even though they have very short roots? The answer is this. The roots don’t grow vertically, they grow horizontally and connect to the roots of the other redwood trees around them. The tree does not rely on its own strength but on the strength of the countless trees that forms this complex root system.
“They killed Chris not knowing he was a tree that was connected directly or indirectly to the roots of the countless trees around him.
“Chris died not to expose the hate of this world but instead to reveal the power of love, community and togetherness. In that sense of togetherness, we shall discover the truth. Make the Met fully accountable and ensure there is justice.”
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