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Dalston protest: Two injured and one arrested as demo over death of Rashan Charles sees fires lit and bottles thrown

PUBLISHED: 10:48 29 July 2017 | UPDATED: 10:01 04 August 2017

The smashed screen of a police riot van in Dalston last night. Picture: Zoah Hedges-Stocks

The smashed screen of a police riot van in Dalston last night. Picture: Zoah Hedges-Stocks

Archant

Two people were injured in Dalston last night as a protest over the death of Rashan Charles saw mattresses burnt in the street, glass smashed and fireworks thrown.

Demonstrators had blocked off Kingsland Road at its junction with Middleton Road, near Yours Locally – the off-licence where Mr Charles was tackled and handcuffed by police hours before his death a week ago.

But the unrest heightened as night fell. Missiles were thrown at police as they tried to disperse the group. Mounted cops were scrambled for backup as windows were damaged and a cashpoint smashed.

Restaurants and bars pulled down their shutters, locking customers inside, as the protesters were pushed north up Kingsland High Street and beyond Dalston Kingsland Station.

One boy, 17, was arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm. A cyclist was knocked off his bike and assaulted when he tried to get through the protest, police said, and a police officer suffered a minor eye injury.

The crowd dispersed at about 11.40pm.

Mr Charles’ father Esa is due to give a joint statement with Ginario Da Costa, the father of Edson Da Costa, outside Stoke Newington Police station at 2pm. Mr Da Costa died six days after he was detained by police during a traffic stop in Beckton on June 15.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating both deaths. Police said Mr Charles tried to swallow an object as he was chased into the shop at about 1.45am on July 22. The IPCC said there was evidence that an object had been removed from his throat at the scene.

Last night’s violence broke out as a statement shared on the Justice for Rashan Facebook page, purportedly from Mr Charles’ family, urged those affected by his death to be peaceful. “We appreciate all support,” it said, “but any hostile actions or other events, at this stage, that may risk detracting from our current co-operative engagement with the Independent Police Complaints Commission and Metropolitan Police is unwelcome.”

The statement added: “We ask that all parties respect out current approach in the aftermath of this tragic event. We are speaking and meeting directly with the independent investigators (IPCC), allowing reasonable time for meaningful progress.

“Be assured we are determined to get answers as to how and why this fatality occurred.

“We will achieve this by acting within the law, and ensure there is individual and organised accountability.”

Protesters yesterday afternoon had stopped vehicles passing the road, with some getting into stand-offs with motorcyclists as they tried to edge past. Soon police had blocked off the A10 either side and were diverting traffic away.

Hours later, protesters – some wearing masks – jumped on to a lorry which drove through, and clung to its wing mirrors as it hit the bins lined up in its path.

A man sat on one bin, which was pushed along by the vehicle, while another clambered on to its roof as it continued to drive, it is said.

It eventually came to a stop, with its window and windscreen smashed, but its driver left the scene after speaking to police.

As night fell, mattresses and bins forming part of the barricade were set on fire and riot police moved in.

Yours Locally declared yesterday it would be shut as a mark of respect. It was set to reopen this morning.

In a statement attached to its shutters, staff wrote: “One week on from the terrible event that took place in our store, as a mark of respect for Rashan Charles our store will be closed on Friday.”

The shop had remained open in the days following Mr Charles’ death – including on Monday, when a protest at Stoke Newington police station marched back down the road for speeches outside the shop.

Det Supt Claire Crawley said today: “The disorder of last night was separate from the peaceful protest at Stoke Newington Police Station that was held earlier that day.

“Thankfully, nobody was seriously injured, but there was inconvenience to local residents and road users and damage caused to vehicles, a cash machine and a number of windows.

“We will always support the right to lawful protest but behaviour such as that seen last night cannot be tolerated.”

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