Londoners defy lockdown to show solidarity with US protesters
The massive protests sweeping across America are not only sending shockwaves through the US political establishment but they have now crossed the Atlantic and threaten similar social and political movements in the UK.
According to multiple media reports, “thousands” of British protesters gathered in London’s Trafalgar Square today to demonstrate solidarity with protesters in America galvanized by the brutal killing of African-American George Floyd.
Floyd was killed when a police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes even though he was unarmed and posed no threat to people around him.
Floyd’s murder has sparked protests across the US where people are demanding accountability from a criminal justice system which routinely kills African-Americans and members of other minority groups with apparent impunity.
The protesters in Trafalgar Square chanted slogans such as “black lives matter” and held up placards saying “Racism has no place” and most evocatively of all the dying words of George Floyd: “I can’t breath”.
After leaving Trafalgar Square the protesters descended on the heart of the British government in Downing Street to make their voices heard.
A separate group gathered outside the US Embassy in Battersea where they staged a sit-in protest on the road.
The large protests in London are important for two reasons. Foremost the protesters were sufficiently motivated to break coronavirus-related restrictions on social distancing.
At a less immediate level, and from the point of view of the British security apparatus, the London protesters angered by Floyd’s gratuitous death could easily turn their attention to injustices and lack of police accountability in the UK.