SIXTY THOUSAND youth and older workers joined the Black Lives Matter march in London on Saturday, from Parliament Square to the Home Office, then on to the American Embassy before heading back to Whitehall, following the Minnesota police’s brutal murder of George Floyd last month.
There were also scores of other marches across Britain, including in Manchester, Leicester, Sheffield, Newcastle, Glasgow, Bristol, Luton, Cardiff, Bath and many of other towns and cities.
In Watford, heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua joined the march, while in London singer Madonna was among the demonstrators who assembled in Parliament Square at midday, before marching to the Home Office in the afternoon and then laying siege to Boris Johnson in Downing Street in the evening.
Ahead of the London march, Black Lives Matter spokeswoman Imarn Aycon told the crowd: ‘Black people have been talking about these issues for hundreds of years.
‘This protest is not the final protest, it is the rehearsal for the revolution.
‘We can’t breathe because racism exists. We are marching to the Home Office today for George Floyd and Belly Mujinga, but also for Justice for Grenfell and the Windrush Generation.
‘We are united, we will no longer be divided.’
Workers Revolutionary Party speaker Jonty Leff told the crowd: ‘It’s capitalism that has to go. We want a revolution. We’ve got to kick out Johnson and Trump. The revolution has begun. We need socialism.’
A delegation of RMT members brought their banner to the demonstration, demanding Justice for Belly Mujinga, a black railway worker who died from coronavirus in April after being spat in the face by a racist.
A powerful Young Socialists delegation was joined by hundreds of marchers in constant chants of ‘George Floyd – Murdered by the Police! Kick Out Johnson – Kick Out Trump! Who are the Murderers? Police are the Murderers! Justice for George! Justice for Belly! Justice for Grenfell! One Solution – Revolution!’
As they assembled in Parliament Square, many marchers were very keen to explain why they had come.
Amrika Bitai, a nanny from Germany, told News Line: ‘I lived in America for two years and I had lots of friends who experienced racism. I feel it’s necessary to make a big change.
‘Society needs to change. This is the biggest movement ever. There have been demonstrations in at least 18 countries outside the US, including a massive one in Berlin.’
Klara Miranowicz and Dante Lionel came from West London. Klara said: ‘This is an issue that should never exist. Everyone must be treated equally. We need a revolution.’
Dante said: ‘I want equality for all. Black people have had to fight for too long. The UK is guilty of aiding slavery. They only paid their last compensation payment to slave-owner families for loss of human property in 2015.
‘We need a different world altogether. Scrap racism and bigotry forever.’
Lily Brown and Gigi Williams, from Abbots Langley in Hertfordshire, were carrying a placard saying: ‘No Lives Matter until Black Lives Matter.’
They said: ‘We feel really strongly about what’s going on. This movement is not going away, it’s going to grow and grow.
‘Ostensibly it’s just against racism, but essentially it’s fighting what is behind racism, which is years and years of oppression.
‘We shouldn’t still be fighting for equality in 2020.’
Chloe Right from New York and Raph Johnson, from London, were carrying a placard saying ‘Defund the Police’.
They said: ‘Money should be taken away from the police and used to support the poor.’
Lissy Green, from Windsor, said: ‘I hate racism. I think we need to unite together and the working class should take the power.
‘Power to the People! I think capitalism actually relies on racist discrimination. We need to bring down the system.
‘We want a workers government, a state run by the proletariat. The revolution is already underway.’
Jacob Denaway, from Forest Hill, east London, said: ‘I’m here because black lives matter and we need to stop police brutality at all costs.
‘We’re going to take over. The Tories must go and their system. There will be a series of uprisings from now on.’
Vincent Jerome, from Wembley, was carrying a placard saying: ‘Teach British kids about the realities of British Imperialism and Colonialism.’
He said: ‘Over the past week it’s become clear that a lot of people in this country don’t know or refuse to admit Britain’s bloody history.
‘British kids must be taught the entirety of their history, including the brutality of the British Empire.
‘Unlike the slave trade in America and the holocaust in Germany, where the atrocities occurred on home soil, Britain did so much of its dirty work abroad.’
Vincent’s friend, Sackie Osakonoo added: ‘I believe that systemic racism is the cause of a lot of evils in society.
‘These protests and marches are addressing the problem but not the cause.
‘Racism was a tool used by white British and Americans to justify their treatment of black Africans, to load them onto ships, transport them across the Atlantic and enslave them.
‘The lies they started then, about black people being less intelligent and a plethora of other lies still exist today.
‘The only way to change this is to address the root cause and the only way to do that is to educate everyone about their history.’
Fran Painter-Fleming, from south west London, carried a placard saying ‘The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.’
She said: ‘You have to work outside the system. We need a whole new system. We need socialism.
‘Communities are being impoverished. The system serves the ruling class.’
Ishaan Khan, Ali Kryeziu and Zino Mahi, three youths from south west London, told News Line: ‘We’re here to show respect to George Floyd.
‘We’ve seen racism ourselves and we’re determined to put an end to it forever.
‘This is a revolution that’s going on. The government wants people to work harder. They are only for the ruling class.
‘They are even putting the pension age up. It’s as if they are working us to death.
‘We need a different system. We need to make a change. People have been protesting for hundreds of years, but this time it’s got to lead to real change.’
Sunny Walker, an Arts and Humanities Open University student, said: ‘We came up from Totnes in Devon. We left at 7am to get here for 12pm.
‘This is a very important movement. I’ve been aware of it for a long time, but now it’s come right to the forefront of people’s lives.
‘To be anti-racist you have to be revolutionary because the system is inherently racist.
‘I think momentum is building up. The ruling class is corrupt and must be overthrown. This is not a black problem, it’s a system problem.’
Mariatu Conteh, from Peckham Young Socialists said: ‘This is my first demonstration and I feel very strongly about it.
‘It’s time for a change. Racism is from the past. It has been going on for a very long time, for hundreds of years.
‘But it’s got no place in modern society. After what happened people are so angry.
‘It’s time for us to take action. We need a revolution.’