Socialist Worker

Outrage after US police murder black people

by Alistair Farrow
Issue No. 2511

Calling for justice in Birmingham

Calling for justice in Birmingham (Pic: Geoff Dexter)


The racist killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile by police in the United States have sparked an eruption of anger in that country but also more widely.

The videos of their deaths, uploaded to social media, have been viewed millions of times and thousands have taken to the streets in response.

Hundreds protested in New York city, Louisiana, Minnesota, Florida and California over the weekend, facing down the police.

Protesting in Bristol

Protesting in Bristol (Pic: Huw Williams)


The protest in Dallas, Texas, was used as an opportunity by Micah Xavier Johnson to target the police. It was an individual attack on the forces used by the state to violently oppress ordinary people.US police have killed over 600 people this year alone.

James Flint was a Black Lives Matter organiser in Oakland, California. He was on the protest in Brixton in London on Saturday. He told Socialist Worker, “You can only push people so far before they start using guns.”

On the march in Brixton

On the march in Brixton (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Several demonstrations took place throughout the weekend in Britain. Thousands turned out with a few hours notice.

On the Oxford Street protest

On the Oxford Street protest (Pic: Tom Kay)


Capres Turner, the organiser behind the 3,000-strong demonstration today, Sunday, in Oxford Street, said, “I called it out of frustration and anger. It was originally going to be just me and my friends but it the event went viral.Someone needs to show that London cares because racist murders are happening here too.”

Demonstrations happened on Friday, Saturday and Sunday in London, on Saturday in Birmingham and on Sunday in Bristol.

On Saturday’s London protest in Brixton, what started as a small gathering of a couple of hundred grew into a march of some 2,000 people.

As protesters marched and chanted from Windrush Square to the police station and through housing estates, hundreds of people poured on to the demonstration.

Capitalism

Ikram was on the march. “Capitalism is the root cause of oppression,” she said, “We need to offer a different solution. Capitalism is given chance after chance to fix these problems but fails each time.”

At Oxford Street on Sunday the mood was militant and defiant. When the police tried to arrest KG for climbing on top of a bus stop to give a speech, people surrounded them and they backed off.

“Two men died, what did we see on the news?” he asked the crowd, “Nothing!” came the response.

In Birmingham some 300 people marched on the Steel House Lane police station and sat down outside to hear performances from MCs and poets. From there the march went to the Digbeth police station.

One of the organisers, Olivia, told Socialist Worker, “This protest is for people facing institutional racism and police brutality.

"We wanted to show the families of Philando Castille and Alton Sterling that we hear their cries across the seas and that we stand with them.”

Anger against injustice in London

Anger against injustice in London (Pic: Lewis Nielsen)


In Bristol about 700 people came out to protest on Sunday from areas such as St Pauls.

Around 150 people demonstrated in Liverpool.

The protests have been a melting pot of ideas about how to challenge institutional racism, the police and capitalism itself.

Protest outside parliament in London on Sunday

Protest outside parliament in London on Sunday (Pic: Jenny Sutton)


Socialist Worker spoke to Kelvin Mayers about how to win liberation. “You can fiddle with the nobs, but unless you turn the whole machine off, nothing is going to change,” he said.

Some people argued that it’s possible to make the police less racist by getting more black officers.But others said that in countries with black police forces ordinary people are still oppressed.

Stand up to Racism activists handed out leaflets on all the protests for the demonstration on 16 July against racism and austerity.

Zac Cochrane from Stand up to Racism spoke at the Brixton protest, calling on people to come on the demo and get involved in the refugee solidarity movement. “All black people, all white people need to come out next Saturday,” he said.

New layers of people have become politicised through these protests and there was a sense that “this is just the start of something, not the end point,” as Tobi described it to Socialist Worker.

Catherine on the Birmingham protest spoke to Socialist Worker, explaining the reasons behind the anger that has brought people on to the streets, “We went from chains to lynchings to bullets. Our masters have changed but we’re still not free. We need to start standing up.”

Demonstrate:No to Racism, No to Austerity, Tories must go. Saturday 16 July, 12 noon Portland Place, London W1, (Oxford Circus tube). Called by Stand Up to Racism and the People's Assembly. https://www.facebook.com/events/997373007038180/? 

 


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