From Buzzfeed, by Fiona Rutherford
As the police watchdog releases its annual deaths in custody statistics, activists in solidarity with campaigners in the US tell BuzzFeed News why the movement is also relevant in the UK.
It took just two days for 20-year-old poet Aliyah Hasinah and her friend Olivia Brown to organise a Black Lives Matter demonstration in their hometown, Birmingham. More than 1,000 people showed up and the event was so successful it was trending on Twitter.
At midday the crowd sat in silence for two hours with tape over their mouths, holding placards with messages demanding justice and raising awareness of the trend of black people dying at the hands of police officers in America.
“It became even more powerful when at 2pm, after sitting in silence for two hours, we ripped off the tape on our mouths and started to march, chanting ‘Black Lives Matter,’” Hasinah told BuzzFeed News.
The 9 July demonstration was held in response to the death of Alton Sterling, 37, who wastackled to the ground before being shot dead by two officers during an incident in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A day later, Philando Castile was shot dead by police in Minnesota as he reached for his driving licence while sitting in a car with his 4-year-old daughter and girlfriend, whose live stream of the aftermath helped push the killing into the public eye.
But the demonstration in Birmingham was about more than showing solidarity with black people in America. Hasinah said it was also about recognising the people of colour who have died in police custody in the UK. “Solidarity with the US is of course paramount,” she said. “[But it’s] in addition to understanding what we face on our own shores.” more