|At a second mass demonstration in London, thousands of protesters gathered in Hyde Park to racist police violence in the US and here, reports Jamal Elaheebocus
Thousands of protesters flooded into Hyde Park, gathering at Speaker’s corner, to demand an end to the police racism rampant in the US and UK. This followed on from the protest in Trafalgar Square on Sunday, a protest of several thousand in Liverpool on Tuesday and more local protests up and down the country.
The crowd was full of young people, with a fairly even distribution of white and black people, wearing red to protest against the abuse of the rights of black people across the world. The protest was more organised than Sunday’s, with young people stewarding the event and leading the chanting. They handed out masks and gloves to protesters and tried to encourage everyone to keep 2 metres apart.
When I first arrived at around 1pm, there was good social distancing and most people were wearing masks. However, as people continued to pour out of Marble Arch tube station, social distancing became more difficult.
The atmosphere was fairly quiet at first but as more and more people arrived, the chants of “Black Lives Matter” “No Justice, No Peace” and “Say his name: George Floyd” began to ring out. At one point, all the protesters went down on one knee in solidarity. It was an extremely powerful and moving moment and as it got busier, you could feel an atmosphere of pain and anger, particularly from black protesters, who knew all too well about the institutional racism they have been subjected to for their whole lives.
While there was very little police presence at the protest itself, there were 4 or 5 large police vans outside Marble Arch and at Hyde Park Corner, on the other side of the park. As the protest got busier, the police started to move in and officers could be seen in the crowd.
Further protests in London are planned on Saturday at Parliament Square at 1pm and on Sunday at 2pm outside the US Embassy. There are also protests due to take place in Birmingham on Thursday evening and in Bristol, Bath, Glasgow and Edinburgh on Sunday.