By Brian Richardson
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Join the London march against racist division

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Issue 2363
Protests have spread across the US and the world demanding justice for black teenager Trayvon Martin
Protests have spread across the US and the world demanding justice for black teenager Trayvon Martin (Pic: Werth Media/flickr)

Angry protests have continued following the not guilty verdict passed by an all-white jury in Florida in the Trayvon Martin case. 

This was despite the fact that neighbourhood patrolman George Zimmerman admitted gunning down the unarmed black teenager in February.

Over 100 protests and vigils took place across the US last Saturday. Trayvon’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, spoke in New York. “Today it was my son,” she told the crowd. “Tomorrow it might be yours.

“As I sat in the court room, it made me feel like they were talking about another man. It wasn’t. He was a child.”

Trayvon’s father Tracy spoke in Miami. “We’re not going to sit back and let our children be killed and don’t say anything about it,” he said.

Anti-racist campaigners in Britain have drawn parallels with the US and have called a solidarity demonstration on Saturday of this week. Anti-racists in Britain have got a lot to protest about too.

In recent weeks we heard shocking revelations that the Metropolitan Police spied on the family of murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence. 

They put resources into trying to smear Stephen’s family instead of trying to catch his killers.


John Grieve was the senior officer appointed to “catch racists” after the 1999 Macpherson Inquiry into the police handling of Stephen’s death. Grieve bugged conversations between Stephen’s best friend and witness to the murder, Duwayne Brooks, and his lawyer.

In the week Zimmerman was acquitted, an inquest here concluded that G4S security officers unlawfully killed Jimmy Mubenga as they tried to deport him in 2010. 

And a public inquiry this month concluded that the Metropolitan Police had no lawful justification for the fatal shooting of Azelle Rodney in 2005.

Two summers ago riots erupted on the streets of England following the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man, Mark Duggan, in Tottenham, north London.  

A wave of anger burst out among black and white youth who knew that it could have been them.

Hundreds of people have died at the hands of the authorities over the past decade. Some 15 people died in police custody in the past year alone.

Now the government has been forced to announce a six-week consultation on stop and search. This follows a damning report into stop and search from the usually compliant Independent Police Complaints Commission. 

The Trayvon Martin verdict explodes any illusion that getting “black faces into high places” can end racism. Barack Obama’s initial response to the Zimmerman acquittal was to call for calm.

In August 1963 some 250,000 civil rights activists marched for jobs and justice in Washington DC. Fifty years on, the dream that Dr Martin Luther King shared on that day has not been realised.

Institutional racism blights black people’s lives while austerity wrecks the hopes of all working people. We must bring a mood of collective anger, defiance and determination onto the streets on Saturday.

Protest against racism – Saturday 27 July, assemble 2pm at the US Embassy for a march to Downing Street. Called by Black Activists Rising Against Cuts

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