Not just in the US anymore…
Black activists, responding to calls for a nationwide protest against racial injustice, staged demonstrations in London and several other cities across Britain on Friday, in their boldest show of support to date for the emerging Black Lives Matter movement here.
Black Lives Matter U.K. had called for a nationwide “shutdown” to protest an array of injustices, including police brutality; racial disparities in arrests, convictions and sentencing; the treatment of immigrants in detention; inadequate mental health services; and a reported increase in hate crimes since Britain’s decision, in a June 23 referendum, to leave the European Union.
“We are here because we have no choice,” Wail Qasim, an activist and journalist who took part in a protest near Heathrow Airport, which serves London, wrote on Twitter. “We are here because this is a crisis.”
On Friday morning, activists unfurled a giant banner and lay down on an access road near Heathrow, bringing traffic to a standstill for several hours. The police arrested 10 people.
Five more people were arrested in Birmingham, Britain’s second-most populous city, after blocking traffic leading to the airport. Four activists were arrested in Nottingham, a city of more than 300,000 in the Midlands, after protesters blocked trams and buses by lying down in front of the Theatre Royal.
The demonstrations were peaceful but powerful; in several cases, the authorities had to use special equipment to cut through the tubes the protesters had used to link their arms.
The demonstrations were timed to coincide with the fifth anniversary, on Thursday, of the fatal police shooting of Mark Duggan, a 29-year-old unarmed black man, in the Tottenham section of London. His deathtouched off riots in poorer sections of the capital, as well as in cities including Birmingham, Bristol and Liverpool.
In January 2014, an inquest jury found that the killing of Mr. Duggan had been justified, finding it more likely than not that he had tossed a firearm from a taxi shortly before he was shot. But in October, a judge granted Mr. Duggan’s family the right to appeal those findings.