The group Black Lives Matter U.K. succeeded in shutting down roads and trams in London, Manchester, Nottingham, and at Heathrow Airport.
Last week the organization, which describes itself as “a coalition of activists from across the U.K. who believe deeply that Black Lives Matter,” called for a nationwide shutdown to protest systemic racism and violence against black people. The protest coincided with the fifth anniversary of the death of Mark Duggan, a black man who was shot dead by police during an arrest attempt. His death sparked numerous riots across the United Kingdom.Black Lives Matter U.K. chronicled the shutdown on social media, as protesters blocked roads with signs, and many laid on the ground to stop traffic. Wail Qasim, one of Black Lives Matter U.K.’s organizers, told Novara Media that the shutdown tactics are “what we’ve seen in the United States. ... [I]t’s about the fact that black lives are disrupted on a daily basis in this country by the realities of everyday racism.”
Qasim also writes for Huck Magazine about the protests, saying, “People can mostly go about their daily lives unimpeded. But the everyday disruption that is suffered by those who experience racism in Britain is as much an inconvenience as not being able to get to your flight on time.”Those who were inconvenienced by the protests were quick to criticize the organization for, well, using peaceful protest tactics that have been used for years. Also, many see the racism and violence Black Lives Matter as an American issue, and don’t see the point of the U.K. protests. However, others argue that racism knows no borders.The Independent confirmed 14 arrests in connection with the protests, with thousands of participants across the country.