Black lives matter! Solidarity on the streets of south London

On Saturday 9 July, RCG comrades and supporters were amongst the thousands of protesters who joined a rally in Brixton’s Windrush Square in south London as part of a series of Black Lives Matter protests called over the weekend. There were other organisations there, such as London Black Revs, which originally called the protest, and Movement for Justice, but the majority of people were local individuals, spurred to come out onto the streets in opposition to the appalling police murders in the United States of Philando Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Louisiana.


These judicial lynchings have sparked fury that, more than a century after the repeal of the notorious Jim Crow laws, more black people were killed last year by police than in the worst years of segregation and lynchings in the United States. In 2015, 258 black people were killed by US police – more than a quarter of all deaths at the hands of law enforcement. Within the first six months of this year, US police have shot dead 509 people, of whom 123 were black. The outpouring of anger and solidarity by black people on the streets of London this weekend reflects the continuing racism and police violence experienced here in Britain.

Our ‘Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! End police brutality!’ banner was welcomed by the crowds, as was our banner of the great Burkina Faso revolutionary Thomas Sankara reading ‘imperialism is racism’. Many people flocked to use the open mic we set up, first in Windrush Square and later outside Brixton police station, where the black musician Sean Rigg died in police custody in 2008. RCG comrades spoke on the sound system, making clear the links between racism and imperialism, the connection between the fight against racism in Britain and the struggle in the United States. From the police station the march continued through local estates, where people leant out of their windows to wave and shout their support; cars beeped their horns in solidarity and a fire engine sounded its siren, as one young black firefighter leant out to high-five the protesters. Many bystanders came over to join us, swelling our numbers to well over a thousand. At one junction with Coldharbour Lane, protesters sat down in the busy road, bringing traffic to a halt. For more than six hours, Brixton belonged to those fighting against racism and for justice and solidarity. This truly was people power in action.