Socialist Worker

Thousands more join fresh round of Black Lives Matter protests

Issue No. 2710

Protesters in George Square, Glasgow

Protesters in George Square, Glasgow (Pic: Positive Action in Housing)


Thousands of people across Britain have gathered for a third week of Black Lives Matter protests.

Some of the biggest mobilisations took place outside London.

In Glasgow, some 1,500 people responded to a call by Stand Up To Racism to “retake” George Square in the city centre. It came after racists attacked a pro-refugee protest in the square on Wednesday under the cover of “protecting statues.”

Saturday’s rally was supported by Black Lives Matter, the RMT and FBU unions, and Afghan, Kurdish and refugee organisations. Cops kettled members of the Green Brigade—supporters of Celtic football team—when they tried to join the rally.

Around 1,500 people also marched in Birmingham on Friday. The march started in the city centre’s Victoria Square, and heard speeches from people calling for justice for black people who have died at the hands of the police.

Speakers included Kadisha Brown-Burrell, sister of Kingsley Burrell who died in police custody in 2011. “Race played a big part in Kingsley’s death,” she said. “He was a big black man, he was as humble as a lamb.

“He didn’t know that he would be dead 72 hours later. When Kingsley said he can’t breathe, who does that remind you of?”

Blocked

The protest marched to West Midlands Police headquarters and blocked the road outside.

Sonia Webster, mother of Julian Webster who died in 2009 after being restrained by bouncers in Manchester, also spoke.

In central London around 2,000 people gathered in Hyde Park then marched to Parliament Square.

Protester Shizzi told Socialist Worker that it’s important to keep the momentum of the protests up and keep at the forefront of everyone’s minds.

“The media will move on, but we can’t follow that pattern.”

Evy who is originally from the US said told Socialist Worker, “In the US we can really see what the protests have done. People fought for decades for the police to be kept out of schools, now that has become a reality because of protest.”

Mumtaz told Socialist Worker, “Calling to defund the police like they are in the US isn’t ridiculous. Every other sector gets defunded including education and healthcare- we need that money to go to the community.”

A number of speeches emphasised the oppression that LGBT+ people face.

Protesters in Tottenham, north London, call for an end to racist policing

Protesters in Tottenham, north London, call for an end to racist policing (Pic: Guy Smallman)


There were also smaller rallies in a number of London boroughs. Some 200 people joined a rally in Thornton Heath, south London, and another 200 in Newham, east London.

At a protest outside Tottenham police station, north London, on Saturday morning people demanded a ban on tasers and an end to stop and search.

Fred, who joined the protest, told Socialist Worker he’s “had enough problems with the police growing up to know what’s happening”.

“In my area stop and search is a big problem,” he said. “I can get stopped and searched going to work. It’s just the way the police speak to you and suspect you.”

Samantha, a local resident and community activist, told Socialist Worker that hope lies with the movement not Boris Johnson’s toothless commission into racism in Britain.

“Investigations seem to be about going around the houses,” she said. “We have had so many into racism, we keep doing it repeatedly and there is no change.”

Many people went down from the Tottenham protest to join the Black Lives Matter demonstration in Hyde Park.

Around 300 people joined a rally and march in Coventry. Several speakers mentioned Darren Cumberbatch, a black man from Coventry who died after being tasered and beaten by cops in 2017.

Demanded

Marchers chanted “Who are the murderers? Police are the murderers.” The Coventry Live website reports that protesters also demanded that police officers take a knee—and surrounded one who “seemed reluctant” until he “relented for a brief kneel.”

At least 250 people joined the protest in Times Square in the centre of Newcastle.

Judith Mbuyi said she came to the protest with her brother Johnny because she hopes to improve the future for black women.

She said, “I am here today because one, I am black and two, because I am a black woman and we are socially at the bottom of the ladder. I want to fight for my future son or daughter, so we can have the same rights.”

More than 100 people protested on Friday evening in Middlesbrough, Teesside. There were around 100 people at a demonstration in Thornes Park, Wakefield, in West Yorkshire and 150 in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire.

Around 250 people protested in Montpellier Hill, Harrogate.

Demonstrators took a knee in St Peter’s Square, central Manchester. And another Manchester protest was set to take place in Platt Fields Park, Fallowfield, from 2pm on Sunday.

Thanks to everyone who sent reports

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