Why the BLM movement is just as important to Britain as it is to America
The killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile by police earlier this month, in two separate incidents, sent shock waves across America. The deaths of two black men at the hands of police propelled the issue of institutional racism and police brutality back into the spotlight. Thousands of people took to the streets across America. From New York to Minnesota, from Florida to Washington DC, from Minneapolis to Louisiana, where Alton Sterling was shot dead by police officers – rallies sprang up.
But the protests weren’t just limited to America. Friday marked beginning of a wave of rallies across Britain. Hundreds of activists took the streets of central London Friday evening; marching through Southbank, to the Houses of Parliament, till they reached Oxford Circus. Similar rallies have taken place in Brixton, London, in Birmingham’s city center, Manchester and Bristol.
Protesters chanted, “Hands up, Don’t shot”, “Black Lives Matter”, “No Justice, No Peace” and “Racist police have to go”.
The message was clear. British protesters showed their solidarity with the Black Lives Matters US movement. And the British protests also highlighted that police brutality and institutional racism is not just an American issue, it happens here too. Britain has its own stories, its own victims of police brutality, historic and recent. Some protesters held up placards with the image of Sarah Reed, a black women, who died in police custody in 2016 after been punched and thrown on the ground by an officer. And there are more victims; Mark Duggan, Smiley Culture, Kingsley Burrell, Sheku Bayoh, to name a few.
The #BlackLivesMatter movement is just as important to the UK as it is to the US.