Bereaved parents to ‘shut down’ London in knife crime protest
OperationShutdown planned for April 17
12 March, 2019 — By Samantha Booth
Michelle McPhillips, whose son was stabbed to death two years ago, Stefan Brown, CEO of Stop Kids Being Killed On Our Streets, and Camden-based Elaine Donnellon, of Rise Against Violence UK
BEREAVED parents and campaigners are planning to take over a central London location in a day of protest as they demand action to tackle violent crime.
In response to a spate of fatal stabbings across the country, activists involved in a movement called Operation Shutdown are compiling a list of demands for the authorities.
Their requests include the government calling an emergency government COBRA meeting and an independent public inquiry into school exclusions and their links to serious violence.
Camden-based Elaine Donnellon, from Rise Against Violence UK, said: “What I’ve learned from speaking to mums, every single day they wake up and go to bed on a diet of basically knowing more children and young people have been stabbed to death or shot. It is on top of their own traumas and own experiences.”
She added: “A lot of the mums are trying to fight their own causes and cases while trying to prevent it from happening to other people. We’ve got a growing group of people and we are forming a wide consortium to reach out to bereaved families, frontline workers, teachers, knife crime campaigners and groups.”
Michelle McPhillips, whose son Jonathon “JJ” McPhillips was killed in Islington two years ago, said: “There’s no police officers to put on the street, this is part of the problem – they’ve taken so many officers off the beat that the kids don’t visibly see police. If kids were interacting with police officers on the streets there would be that liaison to try and prevent this from happening to begin with.”
Stefan Brown, CEO of Stop Kids Being Killed On Our Streets, said: “There’s no one under the umbrella of an organisation where there’s mothers that have gone through the pain, organisations doing the grassroots, and people that understand what the reality is on the street. We are doing it because we’ve had enough and decided to make sure the people around us are a team.”
The exact location of the protest in central London, at 1pm on April 17, will be announced on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #OperationShutdown nearer the time.