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Anti-racism protests: the most powerful photos from London’s march against police brutality and racial inequality

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Kayleigh Dray
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People hold placards as they join a spontaneous Black Lives Matter march through central London to protest the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and in support of the demonstrations in North America on May 31, 2020 in London, United Kingdom.

Thousands of people have marched across the city in protest after George Floyd’s death at the hands of a white police officer. 

On Monday 25 May, George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after police officer Derek Chauvin was filmed kneeling on the handcuffed man’s neck for at least eight minutes.

Chauvin, who has had 17 complaints filed against him during his career (of which two resulted in formal reprimands), has since been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

People are angry, and understandably so. Indeed, thousands across the USA have taken to the streets in protest against systemic racism and the repeated failure of America’s policing system. 

Here in the UK, things are little different: over the weekend, London was flooded with people protesting in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, holding up placards saying “racism has no place”, and “I can’t breathe” – a reference to Mr Floyd’s words during his arrest. 

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Speaking in a video posted to TikTok, one of the protest’s organisers said: “Some people are bitching about the movement saying we’re not socially distancing but y’all be in the beach and y’all be in the park and not socially distancing but once we try and fight for our freedom, y’all wanna’ make some noise.

“You guys are saying that the coronavirus pandemic will kill us but police brutality will kill us first. I’m already risking my life on a daily basis, OK? I am already risking my life. Corona is not going to kill me before the police kill me.”

She finished by saying that the “fight is not over” and vowed that there would be more peaceful protests in London this week.

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London’s protest welcomed activists of all races, genders, and ages as they took a stand against racism. 

Below, we have collated just some of the most powerful photos taken of the event.

The most powerful photos from London’s anti-racism protest

  • “I can’t breathe”

    A woman holds an 'I Can't Breathe' placard at London's Black Lives Matter Protest

    Many at London’s anti-racism protest held placards emblazoned with the phrase “I can’t breathe” – a reference to Mr Floyd’s words during his arrest. 

  • Take a knee

    People carrying banners gather during a protest over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after being pinned down by a white police officer in USA, on May 31, 2020 in London, United Kingdom

    Colin Kaepernick, then a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, took a knee during the National Anthem at a preseason game in 2016, as a quiet demonstration against systemic racism and police brutality in the United States. Now, the act of “taking a knee” has become synonymous with the Black Lives Matter movement.

  • “Stand together”

  • Black Lives Matter protestors raise hands in the black power fist

    When the Black Panther Party was founded in 1966 by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale to challenge police brutality against the African American community, the black power fist was repeatedly used as a symbol of black liberation.

  • “The UK is not innocent”

    A Black Lives protestor holds a sign saying: “The UK is not innocent”

    During the protests, the rallying cry that “the UK is not innocent” was accompanied by Black Lives Matter banners. Demonstrators said they wanted to shine a spotlight on the impact of institutional racism in the UK.

  • #BlackLivesMatterUK

    As one person on Twitter noted: “[The sight of everyone] in Trafalgar Square taking a knee and chanting George Floyd’s name is making me tear up.”

  • “Silence is violence”

    A Black Lives Matters protestor holds a sign reading “Silence is violence”

    As many anti-racism activists have pointed out, to remain silent is to be complicit in the injustice. White silence is violence.

  • “Justice for George Floyd”

    People hold placards as they join a spontaneous Black Lives Matter march at Trafalgar Square to protest the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and in support of the demonstrations in North America on May 31, 2020 in London, England.

    George Floyd did not resist arrest. He was both shirtless and unarmed when approached by officers. He told them he was having trouble breathing. He asked for help, repeatedly. Police officer Derek Chauvin, though, continued to kneel on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes, resulting in the 46-year-old’s death. 

  • “Black Lives Matter”

    A Black Lives Matter protestor holds a sign reading “Black Lives Matter”

    Black Lives Matter is a movement dedicated to exposing and challenging structural racism.

  • “No justice, no peace”

    Thousands of people have gathered across central London to protest against the killing of an unarmed black man by police in the US.

    This photo gives some idea of the sheer scale of this event, which saw thousands of people gather across central London to protest against the killing of an unarmed black man by police.

  • “Silence kills”

    A BLack Lives Matter activist holds a sign reading "Silence kills"
    "Don’t say you don’t see race because if that is the case, you cannot see and certainly have not acknowledged the fact that whether you were born black or white in the UK will have a significant impact on both your life experiences and opportunities"

    As one activist put it: “Your silence is the reason we’re still protesting this shit.”

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Images: Getty

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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