Masked demonstrators have held an aggressive rally to protest the police shooting of an alleged violent drug dealer, chanting “Hands up, Don’t Shoot!” and using tactics similar to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement in the U.S.
Mohammed Yassar Yaqub, who was shot dead by armed officers last week, had faced firearms charges in the past and West Yorkshire locals claim he was a well-known drug dealer. However, his family claim he was the “perfect son” and was not a criminal.
Protesters began on the slip road to the motorway at Ainley Top, where Mr. Yassar died one week ago, before marching on Huddersfield town centre where they shut down several roads and chanted slogans.
A group blocked the M62 earlier in protest at the police killing of Yassar Yaqub, then marched to Huddersfield pic.twitter.com/LYLSXF31PA
— Socialist Worker (@socialistworker) January 9, 2017
“No to Islamophobia” signs were spotted by the motorway bearing the ‘Stand Up to Racism’ logo – a group affiliated with the Socialist Worker’s Party.
Reaching the town centre, demonstrators shouted, “Murderers!”, as well as chanting, “We Want Justice!” and “Now Yasser, Who’s Next?”
There were reports of confrontations and disturbances around in the town, as approximately 70 protesters intentionally blocked traffic, the Huddersfield Daily Examiner reports.
The mob ended up outside Huddersfield Police Station, where about 20 officers arrived to keep order.
Large banners accusing the police of an “unlawful killing” also appeared next to the spot where Mr. Yassar was shot dead. The banners, attached to a fence atop an embankment next to the M62, bear the hashtag “#justiceforyassar”.
The incident was the first fatal shooting by West Yorkshire Police in several years, and an inquest later heard that a gun was found in the footwell of Mr. Yassar’s car.
Despite this, the Black Lives Matter UK movement has sought to use the killing to further their agenda, claiming that it was racially motivated.
— #BlackLivesMatterUK (@ukblm) January 5, 2017
Mr. Yassar was 27 when he died. In 2010, he was cleared of attempted murder and firearms offences after it was alleged that he opened fire on two men in a car in Huddersfield.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) are now investigating his death and have confirmed a “non-police issue” firearm was found in his car. The watchdog said officials were working to establish the circumstances around the police operation.
Khan Solicitors, who are acting on behalf of the family, wrote on Facebook: “If a gun was found or not within the car is a red herring. The issue is that he should not have been killed if he was not posing a risk to anyone’s safety.”
My source says : Mohammed Yassar Yaqub had held a gun to a females head in the days before the pre planned operation to arrest him.
— Mark Williams-Thomas (@mwilliamsthomas) January 5, 2017
IPCC commissioner Derrick Campbell told the Daily Mail: “I would like to reassure the local and wider community that this will be a thorough and detailed independent investigation.
“We will be carefully examining all the circumstances leading up to Mr. Yaqub’s death, including the planning of the police operation, and the actions of the officers involved that evening.
“I am, of course, aware there are many unanswered questions but I would urge patience at this time and that people allow our investigation to run its course.
“If anyone witnessed events who has not yet come forward, we would be grateful to hear from them. We are making steady, positive progress, and are continuing to build a picture of what exactly happened.”