Thousands expected to protest against knife and gun crime

Thousands are expected to march through London today to protest against knife and gun crime as it was also revealed only 10 of the capital’s 74 MPs attended a debate tabled in the House of Commons on the issue on Thursday.

The march, organised by youth workers from the Seventh-day Adventist Church, will begin in Trafalgar Square, with a rally to be held in Kennington Park in south London.

It will include speeches, singing and a roll-call of names of young people who have fallen victim to knife and gun crime.

Anti-gun campaigner Pat Regan, who was stabbed to death on Sunday, had been due to address the event.

Several relatives of murdered teenagers – including Mark Prince, father of 15-year-old Kiyan Prince, who was stabbed to death in May 2006 – are expected to attend.

So far this year 16 teenagers have been violently killed in the capital.

Organiser Colin Stewart, told ITN: “We are anxious to get as much positive publicity for this event so we can somehow crash into these guys’ worlds and see if we can make a difference.”

Meanwhile prime minister Gordon Brown said on Thursday there should be a “presumption to prosecute” anyone aged 16 or 17 found with a knife.

“Every young teenager who is encouraged to carry a knife is not making themselves safer, they are all making it more likely crimes are committed,” he said.

But many of London’s MPs have come under fire for failing to attend a debate on knife crime in the capital held on Thursday afternoon. Of 74 MPs only 10 were present at the debate.