30 Years On Southall Riots*, Mr Peach became a hero to the Sikh community in Britain

The anniversary of the death of a New Zealander at a London protest 30 years ago is to be remembered next week.

Blair Peach, a 33-year-old special needs teacher living in East London, died during a protest by the Anti-Nazi League on April 23, 1979.

It was alleged he died after being struck on the head by a police officer with a truncheon.

Even 30 years on his death is drawing appeals for information, as no one was prosecuted for the killing.

An international group, Friends of Blair Peach, has created a Facebook group in his memory.

It was appealing for his friends or people who had information on his death to get in touch.

The Anti-Nazi League protest, in the largely-Asian suburb of Southall, West London, was against anti-immigration group the National Front , who were holding a meeting in preparation for their general election campaign.

Their candidate reportedly said he would "bulldoze Southall to the ground and replace it with an English hamlet", the Socialist Worker newspaper reported at the time.

Police used truncheons to disperse the crowd as it marched toward Southall town hall, and shut down the protesters' makeshift headquarters.

Parminder Atwal, a local resident who saw Mr Peach hit on the head by police, said it was clear he was seriously hurt, and couldn't stand.

Police told him to move on and "were very rough with him", London weekly newspaper First Post reported.

Mr Peach was found injured around 8.30pm by an Asian family who took him in and called an ambulance.

He began having fits and was pronounced dead at hospital.

A public inquiry into his death, requested by 79 MPs, was refused.

The coroner's ruling of 'death by misadventure' came after one of the longest inquests in legal history, with a total of 84 witnesses, including 40 members of the Metropolitan Police special patrol group.

Witnesses testified to Mr Peach being beaten by police in a street, and a pathologist said the damage to his skull could not have come from a truncheon, but a rubberised police radio.

The result of an internal police investigation was never made public, but Mr Peach's family were shown part of it in 1986.

His brother reached an out-of-court settlement with the Metropolitan Police in 1989.

Mr Peach became a hero to the Sikh community in Britain, and a Southall primary school was named after him.

The death of 47-year-old British man Ian Tomlinson during a G20 protest in London a fortnight ago brought back memories of Mr Peach's death, and prompted calls for an investigation into police involvement in his death.

A video showed a police officer shoving Mr Tomlinson to the ground, minutes before he was found dead from an apparent heart attack in a nearby street.

Memorials will take place in New Zealand and Britain next week, including a vigil at the spot where Mr Peach was allegedly struck by police.


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