By Ken Olende
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Hundreds protest at Westfield in solidarity with US anti-racist demonstrations

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Issue 2433
Protesters stage a die-in at the Westfield shopping centre
Protesters stage a die-in at the Westfield shopping centre (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Around 400 people held a die-in yesterday evening, Wednesday, at west London’s plush Westfield shopping centre.

The protest was in solidarity with anti-racist protests in the US.

Westfield in Shepherd’s Bush sees itself as a cut above the average mall. It has a champagne bar outside its branch of Tiffany’s jewellers and last night there was a drinks party at its Porsche dealership.

Security expected a protest and had set up crash barriers to vet people as they came in. They stopped people carrying banners or wearing Guy Fawkes masks.

Security guards and police patrolled the centre in teams and at the original planned assembly time at 6pm all was quiet. But half an hour later 100 people had gathered behind the skating rink and began to march.

At 6.45pm about 200 had gathered and staged the first die-in. Chants recalled the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown at the hands of the racist US state.

They called, “No Justice no peace”, “Black lives matter” and “I can’t breathe”.

Protesters then marched around the centre. By the time they staged their next die-in, the crowd had grown to some 400.

Before security guards could contain them protesters got up and marched out, noisy but good humoured. The atmosphere was peaceful and many shoppers came out to take pictures and shout support.

The event was organised by London Black Revs and NUS Black Students.

Outside the protest continued around Shepherd’s Bush, joined by people who had not been able to get in the centre. It staged a further sit down in the road.

Later a large group of protesters pushed their way back into the Westfield centre. Police kettled protesters and arrested 76.

Meeting for the 76 arrested – Saturday 13 December, 2pm, LARC, 62 Fieldgate St, E1. Very close to Whitechapel tube station

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