Socialist Worker

Thousands join Black Lives Matter protests across Britain

by Nick Clark
Issue No. 2709

Protesting in Brighton

Protesting in Brighton


Thousands of people across Britain have joined another wave of protests as part of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.

There were big protests in major cities—but also in many smaller towns.

In Brighton around 1,000 people formed a human chain along the seafront for a silent BLM protest and then much greater numbers marched to The Level.

Steve reports that it was "the biggest protest in Brighton in living memory. There were so many marchers that the head of the march was half a mile ahead of the tail." 

Thousands demonstrated in Leeds.

In Canterbury around 2,000 joined BLM protests. A march from Kent university merged with a static protest in Dane John Gardens.

Some 600 marched in Chichester. Hundreds took part in Telford and 400 in Kenilworth.

A demonstration in Ilfracombe, Devon, drew several hundred supporters. The action was organised by young people in the town partly in response to racist comments on local social media. 

Around 1,000 people were reported to have joined a rally in Stafford. Adam Brooks, originally from Stafford, travelled from Birmingham to join it.

“I'm really pleased so many people have turned up,” he said. “Stafford is only a small town so it's made me proud to see how many people care.

“It seems more and more people are fighting for the cause. It's not just a black movement anymore.”

Thousands demonstrated in Leeds

Thousands demonstrated in Leeds (Pic: Neil Terry)


In Liverpool thousands marched to remember George Floyd, murdered by police in Minneapolis, and to oppose racism in Britain.

There were also several protests across London. Many of them were in place of a planned mass demonstration in central London, which organisers called off to avoid clashes with Nazi counter-protesters.

Around 1,000 people gathered in Hackney's Newington Green and the surrounding streets to show their support for the movement.

Marcus told Socialist Worker he came to the protest so his eight year old son could be part of the Black Lives Matter movement. And he said that the impact of the anti-racist movement drew him out on to the streets.

“I was very sceptical about protests, but now you can see small differences. Like the slaver Sir John Cass statue in east London coming down, and in Belgium, king Leopold’s statue coming down—the fact they even had that statue up is unbelievable in itself.”

“Coming out here and seeing so many white faces, it’s surprised me to be honest,” he said.

“But it’s a good thing. In order for us to move forward, we’re going to have to have allies as black people.”

Canterbury protesters

Canterbury protesters (Pic: Steve Wilkins)


The organiser of the protest, who wished to remain anonymous, told Socialist Worker that the movement was raising questions wider than the issue of police brutality.

“When I grew up here, it was a very deprived area. Over time they regenerated the area, and pumped in millions to the local shops, but they didn’t do anything to support the local estates.”

He said it was “about police brutality, and it's about making a stand, making a change and saying that everyone in life should have a fair opportunity to succeed and achieve”.

At least 1,000 people joined a “children’s march against racism” in Tottenham, north London, and a further 500 at a BLM rally at nearby Alexandra Palace.

Silence

Police said there were 1,500 people at the rally in Huddersfield where protesters held a minute’s silence for George Floyd.

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Over 1,000 people were reported at a rally in Croydon and 400 in Surbiton, both in south London. Around 250 people joined an event in Lewisham.

There were 500 people in Stratford upon Avon on Friday, plus a demonstration in Kenilworth on Saturday and a protest planned in Nuneaton tomorrow, Sunday.

Friends of Nuneaton War Memorial—involving Tories, ex-military and ex-BNP members, want to “protect” the statue of George Eliot in the town. Eliot was a progressive woman Victorian novelist—not a target for Black Lives Matter protesters.

There were around 300 people at a rally in Barry, south Wales.

In Birmingham, up to 250 people protested in Bearwood and some 300 people protested in Shirley. Protesters in Shirley marched while drivers honked their horns in solidarity. They sat and kneeled in the road in silence for Floyd.

This powerful movement is posing a real challenge to racist Britain.

Thanks to everyone who sent reports and pictures

 


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