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A large gang of masked protesters have clashed with riot police after blocking a busy east London road in an angry protest over the death of Rashan Charles.
The group of furious demonstrators, around 40 of whom had their faces covered, hurled bottles, stones and other objects at police as tensions came to a head in Dalston on Friday night.
Rashan Charles, 20, was chased into a shop by officers in Dalston on Saturday. He was restrained on the floor and later died after apparently swallowing an object.
The police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, has since launched a probe into his death.
Motorists driving along Kingsland Road told how they were unable to get through the makeshift blockade as they were “cornered” in their car by groups of protesters.
Around 80 people began gathering outside the shop, Yours Locally, at shortly after 4pm on Friday.
Up to 15 police riot vans have since arrived at the scene. By 6pm, protesters had managed to push back the line of officers three times, passers-by said.
A helicopter circled overhead as people at the scene reported the street being “covered in glass”.
One passer-by told the Standard: “It’s really kicking off.
“There’s lots of police here, about 10 to 15 riot vans. Maybe 50 or 60 bottles or other missiles have been thrown.
“The police line is being slowly pushed back by the protesters. There’s lots of very angry people.”
Another witness said they saw the group of people with their “faces covered” making a barrier across the road out of discarded bin bags full of rubbish, traffic cones and a wheelie bin.
“It looks like something serious could be happening,” one passer-by said. “A lot of kids moving towards the area where this barrier has been built.”
Photos from the scene show a jam of cars and buses unable to get past the protesters, as police confront some of the people in the road.
One woman from east London told the Standard the young people were “intimidating drivers”.
The Dalston resident, who wished not to be named, said: “A huge group of youths are blocking the road off with cones.
“They are telling drivers they are not allowed through the blockade.
“I ended up driving right through it as I was cornered in the car and didn’t want to u-turn as two groups of gang members appeared on either side of my car which frightened me.
“Straight ahead was a better option. Helicopter is now overhead and traffic is at a standstill. Mopeds are in road and masks are on their faces.”
A spokesman for the Met Police told the Standard their officers were on the scene and are “continuing to monitor the situation”.
They said a number of items had been placed in the road.
The family of Rashan Charles tonight reiterated their plea for no violence.
In a statement which was recirculated today, the family said: “We appreciate all support, but any hostile actions or other events, at this stage, that may risk detracting from our current co-operative engagement with the IPCC and Met Police is unwelcome.”
It added: “We are speaking and meeting directly with the independent investigators, allowing reasonable time for meaningful progress”.
Earlier this week protesters brought traffic to a standstill at Stoke Newington police station at a #justiceforRash rally.
More than 150 people marched to the police station in fury after people said they had been left “concerned and angry” at the death of 20-year-old Mr Charles.
CCTV obtained by the Standard shows Mr Charles, known as Rash, putting his hand to his mouth as he runs into the shop, at around 1.45am.
The images then show him being grabbed by the officer who wrestles him to the floor, with the pair struggling for at least a minute.
Tributes were paid to “great father” Mr Charles, with friends leaving flowers and candles at the scene.
He was described as “a really good guy” who was “close to all his family and close to all his friends”.
Merdan Uckac, 18, whose family run the barbers next to the shop where Mr Charles was detained, said: “My friend did not deserve to die like this.
“He was a great father and is well-known in the area. He was always coming into the barbers and chatting to us. He wouldn’t have ever hurt anyone, so that’s why we are all so upset.”
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