Crowds gathered in Manchester to mark the anniversary of Shukri Abdi's death
Huge crowds have gathered across the UK, with demonstrations planned in Canada and the US, to demand further investigation into the 12-year-old's death.
Hundreds of people have joined protests across the UK on the first anniversary of 12-year-old Shukri Abdi’s death.
Chants of ‘no justice, no peace’ were heard during the demonstrations, which took place in several major cities including Manchester, London and Bristol. Protests are also set to take place in Los Angeles and Toronto later on Saturday.
Shukri, a Somalian refugee, drowned in the River Irwell on June 27, 2019, and her mother told an inquest, which has since been adjourned, she believed her daughter was with two girls who were not friends at the time.
The inquest into her death, opened in February and focused largely on events on the day of her death, The Guardian reported. No date has yet been set for its resumption.
Her death has become the focus of renewed attention in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by police in the US, and the ensuing Black Lives Matter protests which have since echoed around the world.
Shukri’s picture and name have repeatedly been at the forefront of protests in the UK, with protesters calling for further investigation into her death.
In the days after her death Greater Manchester Police said it was treating what happened as a “tragic incident” and did not believe there were any suspicious circumstances, but Shukri’s family have since raised serious concerns about the way her death was investigated.
When asked by the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire if she believes the police force treated her differently because they are institutionally racist, her mother Zamzam Ture replied ‘yes’.
It was announced in August 2019 that the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) had begun an investigation following a complaint about police actions following her death.
Manchester’s mayor Andy Burnham said earlier in June that he would ‘look into’ Shukri’s case, telling BBC Asian Network that he had received 6,000 emails about her death and the subsequent handling of the incident.
Shukri’s family have repeatedly raised concerns of bullying prior to her death, with her aunt telling The Guardian that the situation had become so severe that teachers had on occasion brought her home from school themselves amid fears for her safety.
Her family also branded an investigation carried out by Broad Oak sports college in Bury, where Shukri went to school, as a “whitewash”.
The family were asked to go to the police station to receive the internal report into bullying at the school, where requests for Shukri’s mother to have a translator were denied, leaving her in tears and causing the family to leave the station in protest.
The inquest into her death is not examining allegations of bullying.
Ahead of Saturday’s protests a family spokesperson said: “The family would like to thank everybody that is joining the demonstrations this weekend.
“It is heartening to know people all across the world are joining the call for Justice for Shukri Abdi.
“We ask you all to keep Shukri and her family in your prayers as we continue the struggle to get answers.”
One protest organiser from Manchester told HuffPost UK that the quest for answers had united many young people, particularly those from the UK’s Somali community, who had been affected by the news her death.
Idris Sheikh, 25, said: “This was someone from my community, I grew up in Manchester and have lived here my whole life. To read and find out what happened to Shukri, and the whole tragedy around her case, I think moved everyone in our community.
“I think people from the younger generation are starting to find their voice, starting to become more visible in terms of changing the narrative of the Somali community and our marginalisation.
“It’s been really beautiful to see people around the world speaking up – one of the things that motivated us to get together was the level of international solidarity. It makes us feel like we’re not alone, like our narrative is being heard.”