Black Lives Matter: Outcry After Protests Cause Chaos Across UK Cities
Cyril Dixon, Express, August 5, 2016
Black rights protests caused chaos at Heathrow and in two city centres today.
Lengthy traffic jams tailed back from London’s main airport and hundreds of holidaymakers were delayed for hours after activists chained themselves together on a slip road off the M4.
There were also sit-ins on roads in Nottingham and Birmingham and the synchronised protests saw several arrests.
Behind the demos was the organisation Black Lives Matter UK, which claims to be a spin-off from the US group of the same name which has been protesting against fatal police shootings of black men.
On the M4 protesters lay in a row across the slip road beneath a banner which said: “This is a crisis.”
Police were forced to negotiate with activists after four of them lay across tram tracks in Nottingham. And officers near Birmingham Airport pulled demonstrators away from the middle of the road.
The road chaos was timed to mark the wave of summer riots in 2011 which followed of the shooting by police of suspect gangster Mark Duggan, 29.
Duggan was killed in Tottenham, north London, on August 4, 2011, by Operation Trident officers who suspected him of plotting a shooting.
In the following days, riots broke out in Tottenham before spreading to other parts of London and other British cities. His killing was later deemed “lawful” by a coroner’s jury and the police watchdog ruled there was no misconduct.
Anna Stiller was one of dozens of drivers in the Heathrow area yesterday.
“It was chaos,” she said on social media.
“They turned traffic around and directed us to Terminal 5 for transfers. I bet a lot of people were less lucky though.”
Natalie Shalom tweeted: “Black lives matter–yeah they do but blocking M4 ain’t gonna change anything. Get off the motorway.”
And Sable Seline said: “Really struggling to find the synergy between Heathrow and the BLM movement and how blocking the M4 will benefit the cause?”
Black Lives Matter was set up in the US three years ago after the Florida shooting of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by a neighbourhood watch volunteer.
Protests under the movement’s banner have been widespread this year after two white police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, killed a black man during a scuffle and a Minnesota officer shot and killed a black motorist.
Black Lives Matter UK claimed it was acting because “justice has not been delivered through conventional means”.