The Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests that burst onto the streets of Britain over last weekend continue throughout this week. They are showing solidarity with the families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, who were killed by police in the US earlier this month.
Activists are also organising for the No to Austerity, No to Racism march this Saturday, 16 July.
Some 2,000 people marched through Manchester on Monday of this week. Janice was on the protest. “I’ve come because this affects me and my children,” she said. “I’ve put it to the back of my mind for too long. We have been quiet for too long.”
Another 1,000 people marched from the US embassy in London to Downing Street on Tuesday night. They formed a “welcoming” committee for the new unelected prime minister, Theresa May, chanting, “Fuck Theresa May!” through the railings.
The police violence that provoked the protests continues unchecked. The Guardian’s “The Counted” website tallies deaths caused by police in the US. On Sunday the figure stood at 571. By Tuesday evening it had increased to 581.
“They’re murdering people on a daily basis,” said Rashid from New York city, who was on the London protest. “And this is not just about black lives, we need to fight against all injustice.
“Anyone that’s oppressed, we’re not going to take it. Now is the time to rise up against our oppressors. That’s why I’m a revolutionary.”
Many protesters want to challenge particular injustices but also the system that creates and justifies state violence.
Brian Richardson from the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) addressed the crowd outside Downing Street. “We’re marching because the same injustice happens here as well,” he said.
“If we can’t get justice, then there can be no peace. We need to organise against a system that divides us, a society run by the rich and protected by the police.”
Serine Lahmouggi was also on the London demonstration. “We’re all fighting for justice and freedom,” she told Socialist Worker. “People are losing lives from circumstances out of their control and we need to fight it.”
The establishment response to the protests in the US has been to close ranks and protect the police. In Louisiana, where Alton Sterling was killed, the state has passed a law to increase sentences for people who assault police officers. A similar federal bill is due to be discussed by congress.
Protests against racism must continue. Here, this means joining BLM demonstrations, organising with Muslims, migrants and refugees. And every anti-racist should be on Saturday’s demonstration in London.
Wednesday – Nottingham Allies for Black Lives, 5pm, Nottingham Speakers Corner bit.ly/29Cw9se
Wednesday – Bradford says no to racism, 5.30pm, Centenary Square bit.ly/295FHhU
Thursday – Leeds Black Lives Matter protest, 6pm, Leeds Art gallery bit.ly/29Hee5x
Friday - Huddersfield Black Lives Matter protest, 7pm, St George’s Square bit.ly/29AapLM
Saturday – Black Lives Matter Block on the No More Austerity, No to Racism national demonstration, 12pm, BBC Portland House, London bit.ly/29PjXVL
Monday – London Black Lives Matter solidarity march, 8.30am, US Embassy, Grosvenor Square, London http://bit.ly/29SnBhN