A road protest staged by Black Lives Matter campaigners has caused chaos for thousands by blocking the tunnel near the UK’s busiest airport. Holding banners reading “This is a crisis,” demonstrators lay down in the road at the entrance of Heathrow tunnel on the anniversary of the 2011 London riots.
Similar protests are taking place in Birmingham and Nottingham, with disturbances at Birmingham’s airport and protests halting tram services in Nottingham’s city centre. According to a Facebook event, more action will be seen in Manchester and other cities across the country in connection with a “nationwide #Shutdown”.
“For 400 years+ we have endured crisis. This is a crisis,” the page reads. “We're coming together to remember we have won before, and we will win again, that racialised sexism, classism and homophobia will become a thing of the past, that we will be free.”
The timing of the event coincides with the fifth anniversary of the London riots, and the death of Mark Duggan who was shot by police after a “hard stop”. However, organisers are drawing attention to the deaths of lesser known black British citizens who have died in custody like Sarah Reed, Sean Rigg and Kingsley Burrell.
Organisers are using the event as a call for action, stating that this is “not just another march or demonstration, this is organisation,” asking for people to assemble, build up their communities and share ideas for improving their communities.
We have reached out to Black Lives Matter UK organisers for comment.