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Carmarthen to Leamington Spa: BLM protests Saturday 18 – pictures from around the UK

BLM protests took place all over the UK last weekend, as they have for the past two months. Below we report on just some of them.

“Get your knee off my neck” – Justice for Marcus Coutain

Around 50 people gathered outside Islington police station on Saturday after an officer was filmed kneeling on Marcus Coutain’s neck as was being detained.

Islington black lives matter
Outside Islington police station in north London on Saturday 18 July

BLM protests in Lewsiham

Lewisham black lives matter
Lewisham black lives matter

Above: BLM protest in Lewisham, south east London

Below: Smethwick, West Midlands takes the knee

Around 60 people gathered in Smethwick to take the knee for racial equality.

Smethwick BLM protest
Smethwick blm

Leamington Spa says black lives matter!

Leamington Spa black lives matter
Leamington Spa

Above: Leamington Spa

Carmarthen, Wales: 100 turn out for Picton Must Fall! demo

A socially distanced demonstration calling for the removal of the Picton Memorial in Carmarthen and its replacement with a fitting memorial to the victims of Thomas Picton and slavery.

black lives matter stand up to racism
black lives matter stand up to racism
Picton Must Fall!
black lives matter stand up to racism

Quarter of young black people in London stopped by cops during lockdown

Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee has got hold of damning evidence of the extent of the oppressive nature of the policing of black (and white) youth in the big cities of the UK, especially London.

Lots of anecdotal evidence has been cited about the increase in stops of young people and now we have the proof.

For black youth the level of harassment has gone way off the scale, with a quarter of all the young black people having been stopped during the lockdown.

This comes after the overpolicing of block parties on working class housing estates.

From the Guardian:

Young black men were stopped and searched by police more than 20,000 times in London during the coronavirus lockdown – the equivalent more than a quarter of all black 15- to 24-year-olds in the capital.

More than 80% of the 21,950 searches between March and May resulted in no further action, according to analysis by the office of the home affairs select committee chair, Yvette Cooper.

The figures equate to 30% of all young black males in London, though some individuals may have been searched more than once.

The Met increased its use of stop and search during the lockdown, compared with a year ago. The force carried out 43,000 stops in May, compared to 21,000 a year earlier, and 30,608 in April, up from 20,981.

Katrina Ffrench, chief executive of Stopwatch, a charity that campaigns against the disproportionate use of stop and search, said: “The number is shocking and saddening. How do those young people feel when this is their city, they’re going about their daily business, could be caring for parents, all sorts of reasons as to why they’re out?” more

Parliament Home Affairs Select Committee hears evidence on stop and search. Hearing evidence this week.

BLM: Wales First Minister announces audit into landmarks with slavery links

From the South Wales Argus:

STREET names, statues, and building names across Wales are to be reviewed as part of plans to “challenge” controversial aspects of the nation’s history, including connections with the slave trade.

First minister Mark Drakeford has ordered an urgent “audit” of public landmarks, which will all be reviewed by a group with expert knowledge of the slave trade, the British Empire, and the history of black communities in Wales, a Welsh Government spokesperson said.

“This is not about rewriting the past – it is about reflecting it with the justice it deserves,” Mr Drakeford said in a statement.

The audit has been commissioned following the recent Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests, which have brought together activists and members of the public calling for an end to racial injustice and inequality. more

cardiff blm protest
Around 100 people in a sleepy village near Cardiff on Saturday, where artwork was defaced that showed solidarity with the black lives matter movement. First protest in this area I think in its history. Organised by SUTR and local BLM group – report by Hussein

Block party policing is racist: Covid laws excuse by riot police to terrorise London estates

Updated 14:38 BST

Black community leaders on the ground in London say an uprising is inevitable if police and their political masters continue with their oppressive policing of young black people at block party gatherings

A series of incidents across London are seeing tensions between the community and the police boils over.

One law for Black youth, another for middle-class white people

This comes against the background of mounting concern about the racist nature of the contrast between how black youth are dealt with in the Covid pandemic as opposed to white sunbathers on beaches, or mostly white people gathering in large numbers in cramped conditions in and around pubs, such as in Soho Square in London’s West End yesterday.

In those locations there is not a policeman to be seen but as soon as black youth organise their own cheaper forms of entertainment there’s a visit from the Metropolitan police’s Tactical Support Group (riot police).

In addition to the panoply of stop and search laws the police already use to harass black people – such as under PACE, Section 60 and anti-terrorism legislation, there is a new weapon in their locker: the Covid Act.

This was made clear not long into the pandemic when black people were soon shown to be disproportionately more likely to be stopped and fined by the police.

“There’s an explosion coming if the police carry on like this with the TSG”

Ken Hinds

Ken Hinds, who runs a police monitoring group based in Tottenham, north London told BLMM: “Why don’t they come and talk to the community and the elders so we can supervise our own events instead of sending in riot police?”

“There’s an explosion coming if the police carry on like this with the TSG [Tactical Support Group].”

The rising tension has seen young people push back against police intimidation and wanton violence.

Block party clampdown: a “general anti-police conflagration” coming?

BLM activist Gary McFarlane echoed those sentiments: “After weeks of being told by the Tory politicians and others who should know better, that there was nothing to be fighting about here in the UK concerning racism – we see on display in this racist policing of block parties the full extent of the institutional racism of the police, and the government and politicians who encourage them.

“This comes after numerous cases of police racist violence and profiling, such as around the death of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry.

“Then there’s the appalling treatment of Andrew Boateng and his son and the most recent outrage that has just come to light of Ryan Colaço, who has been repeatedly stopped by racist police -– one time after coming back from a Channel 4 interview about police harassment. Enough is enough.”

McFarlane continued: “The Met should know that more of this brutal discriminatory policing will see localised fight backs turn into a general anti-police conflagration across London. Is that what they really want?”

BLM fuels Black youth fightback

After months of being confined in flats with no gardens and with little money, the Black Lives Matter movement has given black (and white) working-class youth greater confidence to challenge racist policing practices.

Parties have been held in Streatham, Brixton, Tottenham, Kensal Town to name just a few areas of London, where videos of riot police have gone viral.

Police running riot on an estate in Hammersmith last night

However, if you are a middle class white person partying and spending £5 on a pint of beer in Soho in crowded conditions that break all Covid social-distancing rules, that’s just fine. Not a cop in sight.

From Michael in Croydon – This is how the police shut down block parties at majority working class black estates. But it’s ok for everyone to be out on the piss at pubs all weekend.
Former Olympic sprint gold medalist takes Met police to task. The cops are bent on stoking an uprising. 

Raise your voice against the criminalisation of Black youth

Make a complaint to the Mayor’s Office For Policing and Crime (MOPAC)

Complain direct to the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and Independent for Police Conduct (IOPC):

Directorate of Professional Standards 
Complaints Support Team
22nd Floor, Empress State Building
Lillie Road

Independent Office for Police Conduct
PO Box 473
M33 0BW

This story will be updated throughout the day

North London says no to Tasers, scrap Section 60 stop and search

Three hundred people came to Turnpike Lane today to protest against the use of Tasers by police and draconian Section 60 stop and search laws.

The protest was organised by Haringey Stand Up To Racism and supported by local Black Lives Matter groups.

Speakers included deputy leader of Haringey Council Seema Chandwani, and Andrew Boateng who’s case was recently reported by the national media after he was stopped with his son and handcuffed while on a charity ride for a community-police relations charity.

The cases of two black men (Millard Scott and Jordan Walker-Brown) tasered by police in Tottenham have come to light in recent weeks.

This follows incidents in the North, particularly in Manchester where Desmond Ziggy Mombeyarara was tasered while holding his 5-year-old child.

A rising number of cases are being recorded as police use Tasers as an offensive weapon, and not for defence as originally intended.

Section 60 is increasingly being used by police to stop and search black youth without having to give a reason. Although most stops are still under PACE (Police and Criminal Evidence Act), the number is falling because of campaigning against it.

In response however, police are routinely turning to the more severe public order legislation that provides police with more draconian powers.

At the request of senior officers, entire boroughs – often several at the same time – can be put under section 60 and any individual stopped and searched.

These laws are being abused to widen the oppressive overpolicing of black communities – seen most recently in the ongoing unnecessary use of force to shut down block and street parties in London and elsewhere, while allowing sunbathers to congregate in huge numbers unmolested by the authorities.

Andrew Boateng speaks out about the brutal racial profiling of himself and his 13-year-old son Hugo, who was handcuffed and left bruised and traumatised after the encounter with police

Introducing Tribe Named Athari (TNA), formerly LDNBLM – chopping up TNA

Seeking cohesive collective impact

LDNBLM (TNA) are some of the young people in London who were involved in helping to organise the largest London protests. Here some members introduce themselves and talk about the IMPACT they want to make.