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Hundreds gather in London to protest against killing of two black men in US

Published 09/07/2016

Hundreds of demonstrators protest in Windrush Square in Brixton against the killing of two black men in the United States
Hundreds of demonstrators protest in Windrush Square in Brixton against the killing of two black men in the United States

Hundreds of demonstrators have protested in London against the killing of two black men in the United States.

Brixton was brought to a standstill as a crowd chanting "black lives matter" and "hands up, don't shoot" took to the streets on Saturday.

The crowd of approximately 300 people gathered in Windrush Square before marching to the nearby police station, and then through neighbouring streets.

It followed a protest in central London on Friday after the shooting of black men by US police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and St Paul, Minnesota. Those deaths were followed by the reprisal shooting of five officers in Dallas, Texas.

Demonstrators later brought traffic to a halt by staging a sit-down protest in the middle of Brixton High Street.

There was a low-key police presence as the crowd chanted "racist police, off our streets".

They sat down for around 10 minutes before getting up, but the crowd swelled until all traffic through the centre of Brixton had to be halted.

Dozens of buses and cars were forced to queue back along Brixton Road as the protesters blocked traffic outside the Ritzy Cinema. One bus driver said he had been stuck for more than two hours.

Scuffles broke out at one point after protesters said a bus driver made a derogatory remark towards them. He was punched by one protester after being ushered away by six or seven police officers. One officer told the Press Association he believed the driver had been arrested.

Officers then backed away from the crowd who remained in the road playing music.

Some protesters cheered as one man shouted through a loudspeaker "we have locked down Brixton".

Another man, Vincent Lee, 37, and his partner Jessica Osibona came to the march as a mark of solidarity of the events in the US over the past week.

Mr Lee said: "It is a mess. Predominantly it is happening in America with their gun laws but we came down to show we are united with them."

He added: "It is hard because I'm mixed. I've got white family members too. The officers who got killed in Dallas, they've got families too."

Ms Osibona said she felt "compelled" to join the protest having followed the Black Lives Matter movement over the past year.

She said: "I was looking for some kind of inspiration as to what we can do collectively."

She added it was her first such protest and had given her an "overwhelming feeling of unity".

One bus - seemingly abandoned by its driver - was boarded by a group of protesters who begun singing rapper Kendrick Lamar's song Alright - a track which has been associated with the Black Lives movement in the US.

Another bus driver said TfL buses through Brixton had been re-routed.

He said he supported the protesters, adding "they've given me a three hour break".

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From Belfast Telegraph