Saturday, July 25, 2020

Black Lives Matter in South London- 2 months on

Two months after the police killing of George Floyd in  Minneapolis on May 25th, the global wave of  Black Lives Matters protests continues to make an impact around the world. This is a quick overview of the last eight weeks in South London, where the current phase of the Black Lives Matter movement in the UK started in Peckham on 30 May 2020 with hundreds of people marching across the Common and down Rye Lane.

Peckham Rye, 30 May 2020 (photo by @katyG_LSL)
Probably the largest demonstration so far took place a week later on Sunday 7 June, with a huge crowd gathering by the American Embassy in Battersea before crossing over Vauxhall Bridge and marching on to Whitehall. It was one of the biggest demonstrations seen in London in recent years, perhaps in the region of 50,000 or more.  On the way there I saw streams of people walking towards it from different parts of London due to the limited Covid 19 public transport. 

Vauxhall Bridge, 7 June 2020
A feature of the protests has been the wearing of face masks and the predominance of home made cardboard placards, well everybody seems to have a cardboard box to hand in these days of endless deliveries due to shop closures. But there were some banners to be seen, and I was pleased to see a proud Millwall anti-fascists banner at Vauxhall.

Millwall anti-fascists, Vauxhall Bridge

It seems that most local parks and public spaces have had some kind of Black Lives Matter gathering, usually 100-200 people taking the knee - a sign of the reach of the movement beyond the usual places where protest happens. I mean it's not every day (or decade for the that matter) that there is a protest in Hilly Fields or Telegraph Hill Park.

Lewisham Police Station, 3 June 2020 (photo by Mark Thompson)

Hilly Fields, 13 June 2020
(photo by Melissa Jacques full report at EastLondonLines)

Burgess Park, 14 June 2020

Ladywell Fields, 27 June (photo from SUTR)

Telegraph Hill Park, 4 July 2020 (photo from @avocadamn)

Protests have also taken place in Mountsfield Park (Catford) and outside the Deptford Lounge, among other places.

Firefighters take the knee at Lewisham Fire Station (photo from @itslukecharles, 3 June 2020)
Black Lives Matters signs can be seen in many local houses, following the recent trend for NHS rainbow window signs. Here's a few examples from around SE14.

There's also some BLM/anti-racist street art and graffiti. 

'Black Lives Matter', Waldram Park Road, Forest Hill

'Fight racism, build unity' - Thames path, Greenwich peninsula

'Racists still not welcome' - Thames path, Greenwich peninsula
What will happen next remains to be seen, in terms of  public protests all movements have ebbs and flows in their momentum. But away from the streets, this phase has kicked of a widespread questioning in workplaces, homes, sports clubs etc. There is a sense that something has to change and that is not going away. 

See also:

More local Black History:

1 comment:

Mark said...

Picture of Lewisham Police Station was mine. There were also two demonstrations in a week outside the Deptford lounge that I helped host and one in Mountsfield park the week before last.