CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Protesters in rallies against racism

Black Lives Matter campaign expects huge gathering this weekend after shock death of George Floyd in US

05 June, 2020 — By Helen Chapman

Actor and activist John Boyega among the thousands of people at the Black Lives Matter protest in Hyde Park on Wednesday

THE Black Lives Matter campaign is expecting its biggest ever UK rally tomorrow (Saturday) after thousands joined a series of protests across central London this week.

Anti-racist campaigners have been marching through the streets from Hyde Park to parliament and Trafalgar Square chanting “no justice, no peace”.

It was triggered by the shocking death of George Floyd in US police custody but there were calls for justice for Belly Mujinga.

The Victoria station railway worker was believed to have died from coronavirus after being spat on by a commuter, but the Met closed the case.

On Wednesday Star Wars actor John Boyega – a former pupil of the Westminster City School comprehensive – made a spine-tingling speech in Hyde Park.

He said: “We are a physical representation of our support for George Floyd. We are a physical representation of our support for Sandra Bland. We are a physical representation of our support for Trayvon Martin. We are a physical representation of our support for Stephen Lawrence.”

City Hall in Victoria

He added: “This is very important. Black lives have always mattered. We have always been important, we have always meant something.”

Protests began in the US after a video showed Mr Floyd, 46, being arrested in Minneapolis and a white police officer kneeling on his neck even after he pleaded his last words “I can’t breathe.” The officer, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with second-degree murder.

Demonstrators met in Hyde Park before marching to Victoria station where they hung a sign reading “Justice for Belly Mujinga”.

The protesters then continued to Westminster, where they blocked the roads outside parliament.

Music and entertainment companies “blacked out” their social media profiles as part of a global response on Tuesday.

Belly Mujinga with daughter Ingrid

Westminster City Council lit up its City Hall in purple in a show of solidarity, adding in a tweet: “This week we are lighting up City Hall in memory of George Floyd and to stand in solidarity with Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities across Westminster and around the world against racial injustice.”

Labour group leader Cllr Adam Hug said: “Glad to see Westminster Council taking steps to recognise the pain in many of our communities. It is essential that more is done to address the inequalities in our city that have been exposed so starkly in recent months, but we know have always been there.”

The Black Lives Matter protest is in Trafalgar Square on Saturday, meeting in Parliament Square from 1pm.

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