• Kia Fullerton

Britain is not innocent: Hundreds of UK citizens protest in support of George Floyd

Right in the heart of London, hundreds of protesters gathered at Trafalgar Square in support of George Floyd.

Black and brown people huddled together on the steps leading to the National Gallery, holding banners that reflect the frustration of police brutality not only in America but here in the UK.

A roar of chants were manifested through the crowd, "Say his name, George Floyd", "Black lives matter" and "No justice no peace, no racist police."

The UK protest was initiated in the name of George Floyd, a Black man in the US who was murdered by a white police officer due to his neck being kneeled on.

The atmosphere of the protest presented a range of emotions. Despite people standing in unity, many were overwhelmed by the experience resulting to tears being shed, while others screaming out their distress.

Power and unity was represented as protesters not only chanted George Floyd, but showed respect to Black lives lost as the result of police brutality and injustices in the UK.

Phrases like "Justice for Belly", a Black women who lost her life to Covid-19 while at work, after being spat at by a member of the public. Last weeks news revealed the alleged attacker was dismissed of charges involved in Belly Mujinja's death.

"Justice for Mark Duggan" was also highlighted throughout the movement. Mark Duggan was a young Black man who was shot and killed by police in North London. Despite a public inquest into Duggan's death concluding that it was a "lawful killing", many still believe this horrific death is evidential of police misconduct.

Since the news of George Floyd's murder reached in the UK, there has been debate as to why Black British people are fighting for justice despite the crime taking place in America.

However, protesters in the UK believe they had the right to protest in support of George Floyd. Keana, 19, who attended the march said "yes we have the right to protest in support of America. The UK is far from innocent, let's not forget that."

Eshe, 20, said "I feel like we definitely have a right to protest for George Floyd, because the same altercations happen here in the UK but never get a news platform to show what type of injustice is happening here.

"I know that not only the UK but black people all around the globe are sick and tired of the way we are treated for our skin colour."

Attendees of the march also shared their reasons for protesting and what they hope will be gained out of it. Camila, 23, said "I chose to protest in support of George Floyd because it is my human duty to take a stand for justice, justice for his life and justice for the lives and livelihood of all black and brown people.

"I hope people will stand united no matter colour or creed and together dismantle systemic racism. Black and brown people will not live in fear, they will not just survive but live."

Eshe said "I went to protest today to voice my feelings within the justice system and how its racist and disregards our human rights as Black people. I hope they will be real justice not only for George Floyd but for every black person who has been killed, wrongly imprisoned and hurt by police."

One of the pinnacle moments was when protesters kneeled outside the US embassy in Vauxhall, London, as a tribute to George Floyd and against racism and police brutality as a whole.

Because of this, the street was at a stand-still, cars had no option but to remain parked until protesters continued on with their journey.

Continuing with their journey, cheers and honks were made by cyclists, car and bus drivers. As well as, residents stepping outside their homes to show their support and solidarity with America.

Black Lives Matter was the general consensus of the march, as Black and brown people were united with white brits who did not hold back on voicing the reality of white privilege and white supremacy.

Before the march ended near Latimer road station, part of Kensington and Chelsea borough. Protesters did a final kneel in acknowledgement of the overall injustice non-whites continue to face.

This was truly powerful to witness as the action was carried out not far from Grenfell Tower, another key example of injustice brought upon those who have lost family and friends in a tragic incident.

With all that is happening with the coronavirus pandemic, it is clear in the UK and globally that it is irrelevant in this point and time. As the context has shifted to fighting for Black lives and against police brutality towards the Black community.

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