Socialist Worker

Huge support as south London anti-racists take to streets

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2709

On the march in south London

On the march in south London (Pic: Socialist Worker)


An inspiring protest against racism took place in Southwark, south London, on Sunday.

Hundreds gathered in Burgess Park with placards reading, “Black Lives Matter.” Campaigners demanding justice for those who died in the Grenfell Tower fire three years ago on Sunday also joined the demonstration. 

Tia brought her four year old son. “I want to teach him from an early age to stand up for himself,” she told Socialist Worker.

“He’s been watching the protests in the US and there have been lots of questions—such as why the police are acting as they are.

“I feel very strongly about it—it feels like nothing has changed in 30 years. The only way to really change things is if the government enforces laws, but this government doesn’t give a shit.”

Lisa, a local teacher, came wearing a Justice for Grenfell T-shirt. “It’s been three years and still the problems haven’t been fixed,” she told Socialist Worker. 

“Someone needs to be held accountable. And there are still families living in absolute fear that the same thing could happen to them.”

Two Southwark councillors spoke at a rally in the park. David Noakes told the crowd, “It takes protest to change things. We must not lose this moment.”

Naima Omar from Stand Up To Racism attacked those who whine about the statue of slaver Edward Colston being thrown into Bristol harbour. “What about the thousands of refugees who’ve died in the Mediterranean Sea?” she said.

“Britain is not innocent. This government has created a hostile environment.”

Clapped 

Protesters marched through the park before holding a sit-down protest and rally. Park-goers clapped as it passed.

There were cheers when one man told the crowd, “They say we shouldn’t protest, that we’re putting health at risk. 

“But they’re happy for us to go to work.”

Protesters then marched out of the park and into the roads, through residential areas towards Peckham. All along the way people came out of their homes to applaud the protest, raise fists in solidarity or to join it.

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Bus and car drivers tooted horns in support, while some drivers yelled, “Black Lives Matter!” from open windows.

People chanted, “The people united, will never be defeated,” “Boris Johnson’s a racist,” and, “Justice for Grenfell.”

There was a celebratory mood with passersby looking genuinely cheered to see the demonstration.

Local anti-racist Suhella, who helped organise the protest, said she wasn’t surprised at how well supported it was. “I’m immensely proud of all the local residents who have turned out,” she told Socialist Worker. 

“Laws don’t guarantee dignity, and without dignity we have nothing. We have to protest against injustice.

“And we have to make links in our areas, create networks and local organisation that can oppose racism.”

Other anti-racist protests took place in Britain on the same day. They included more than 1,500 people in Tooting Common in south London, 300 people in Tottenham, north London,and hundreds of people in Nuneaton, a town where the fascist British National Party previously had a base. 


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