London Halted In Ferguson Solidarity

Article @ Morning Star, published 28 November 2014

Traffic in central London came to a standstill on Wednesday night when a protest over the shooting of black US teen Michael Brown sparked a spontaneous march through the streets.

Hundreds of anti-racist activists attending the London to Ferguson solidarity vigil outside the US embassy swarmed between buses on cars on some of the city’s busiest roads.

Demonstrators held placards reading: “Black lives matter” and “Who protects black people from the police?” as they weaved their way down Oxford Street and past Parliament before finishing at Scotland Yard.

Many had been assembling in front of the US embassy since 7pm but the march grew in size as they marched through the city.

One of the marchers, Booey, told the Star she hadn’t come to fight but that as a black person she had to come and show her anger at “racist police.”

She said: “We’ve done being peaceful, we’ve done sitting back and letting things happen, so we thought we should make some noise.”

The march had set off spontaneously when the London to Ferguson rally in Grosvenor Square came to an end.

Tension was palpable, with hundreds chanting: “No justice, no peace” as speakers criticised the cops.

The slogan was also daubed on the walls of a construction site as the march moved through London.

London Campaign Against Police and State Violence speaker Steffney O’Connor shouted: “Ferguson is England – everywhere you look we see Ferguson around us.

“We do not live in a democracy,” she went, on to the sound of others screaming: “Never again.”

Defend the Right to Protest spokeswoman Hannah Dee called for unity in the fight against racism, saying: “This is a struggle that knows no borders.”

She added: “This isn’t a moment, this is a movement!”

As the march set off, police officers and vehicles attempted to tail the group, but they were clearly unprepared for the sudden burst of anger.

There were cries of “fuck the police,” but the demonstration remained peaceful.

It all ended a few hours later with a protest at Scotland Yard HQ.