Black Lives Matter Made It To London, Where Protesters Blocked Roads To Heathrow
If you had any doubts about the power of the movement, just know that Black Lives Matter has made it to London. On Friday, Black Lives Matter protesters blocked traffic at Heathrow Airport, calling the day a #Shutdown. Ten people were arrested, and some even locked themselves together and are still on the scene on the M4 highway surrounding the airport. Protesters were holding a huge sign that read, “This is a crisis.” If you have people in London trying to travel out of the airport Friday, they’re probably going to be late, as the road has only partially been reopened.
According to Buzzfeed, a Heathrow spokesperson said, “Heathrow supports the right to peaceful protest within the law, but the safety and security of our passengers, aircraft and colleagues together with the smooth running of the operation is paramount.” They added, “We are sorry to those passengers whose journeys are being disrupted and we are working with the authorities to resolve the issue.” The whole point, according to the protesters, was to shut down major transportation hubs to get people to wake the hell up.
There were also protests at the Birmingham Airport in West Midlands, as well as in the town of Nottingham, where protesters laid down in the street to stop traffic.
In England, this week marks the fifth anniversary of Mark Duggan’s death, a 29-year old black man who was unarmed and shot while police stopped a taxi he was riding in. Just like everywhere else, no officers have been indicted in his death. The protests are in solidarity with the American counterpart, but UK’s Black Lives Matter protesters are also trying to draw attention to the death of refugees who die immigrating to Europe.
A Black Lives Matter UK spokesperson, Wail Qasim, who is just 23-years old, told CNN: “In the UK, families have in some cases been waiting decades to find out what’s happened to their loved ones who have died in custody, or to get a straight answer — even where wrongdoing has been found to be by police officers.” Qasim added, “So this demonstration comes after a decade-long struggle and it’s to highlight what’s happening.”
The protests seem to be having the desired effect. Even late in the day Friday, officials said that only one lane had been reopened. If you want to make sure people hear your mission, there is no better strategy than to get in the way of their travel plans and shut down access to the airport.