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Home News Hundreds of protesters aiming to 'lock down' Brixton march down London streets

Hundreds of protesters aiming to ‘lock down’ Brixton march down London streets

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Hundreds of demonstrators brought Brixton to a halt as they marched through London to mark Afrikan Emancipation Day.

The coalition of action groups – led by Stop The Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide and the Afrikan Emancipation Day reparations march committee  – took the drastic action to ‘make themselves heard’ in a bid for reparations from the UK government.

Other groups involved included the Forever Family Force and the Rhodes Must Fall Oxford campaigners. 

A number of demonstrators temporarily blocked Brixton Road at the junction with Acre Lane, forcing cars and buses to stop and turn around.

Protesters, including some from Extinction Rebellion, occupied the middle of the junction until they were told to get back on to the curb by police officers.

Three people – holding signs saying ‘mask up’ and wearing visors – handed out face masks and hand sanitiser to those attending.

The main group, Stop The Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide, want the government to create an All-Party Parliamentary Commission for Truth and Reparatory Justice. 

Activists block Brixton Road as they march through London's streets to mark Afrikan Emancipation Day despite restrictions

Activists block Brixton Road as they march through London’s streets to mark Afrikan Emancipation Day despite restrictions

The march was led by Iman, the Forever Family Force and the Slow Boys, on motorbikes as it made its way through Brixton

The march was led by Iman, the Forever Family Force and the Slow Boys, on motorbikes as it made its way through Brixton

The demonstrators joined hundreds of others marking Afrikan Emancipation Day in Windrush Square, Brixton this afternoon

The demonstrators joined hundreds of others marking Afrikan Emancipation Day in Windrush Square, Brixton this afternoon

A large police presence surrounded the protesters who marched through the centre of Brixton this afternoon

A large police presence surrounded the protesters who marched through the centre of Brixton this afternoon 

Groups of protesters carried home made signs calling for action on ongoing racial violence

Groups of protesters carried home made signs calling for action on ongoing racial violence 

Among the groups protesting in Brixton today were these motorcyclists riding varying styles of  high-powered machines

Among the groups protesting in Brixton today were these motorcyclists riding varying styles of  high-powered machines

Protesters supporting the Stop the Maangamizi Campaign and the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee

Protesters supporting the Stop the Maangamizi Campaign and the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee

Protestors blocked the main road running through Brixton, saying they took drastic action 'to make themselves heard'

Protestors blocked the main road running through Brixton, saying they took drastic action ‘to make themselves heard’

Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March 

The annual Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March is part of a campaign calling for the UK to make amends for the enslavement endured by generations of African people.

The march this afternoon marks its seventh year as a means of drawing attention to their cause.

The event marks the passing of the 1833 Abolition of Slavery Act, which came into force on 1 August 1834.

Campaigners argue that the millions of pounds in compensation paid to former slaveholders as a result of the Act, without similar recompense for freed slaveholders, cemented and increased racial injustices that are still felt today.  

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Crowds of people listened to music in Windrush Square – where the event began – watched speeches and observed a three-minute silence to mark the event, which is in its seventh year. 

A coalition of groups were involved in the event on Saturday, including Stop The Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide, the Afrikan Emancipation Day reparations march committee and the Rhodes Must Fall Oxford campaigners.

Protesters, floats with speakers and people on motorbikes spilled out onto Brixton Road shortly before 4pm and began to march to nearby Max Roach Park.

Protesters then began marching down Brixton Road towards Max Roach Park, blocking the road and stopping traffic.

The event marks the passing of the 1833 Abolition of Slavery Act, which came into force on 1 August 1834.

Campaigners argue that the millions of pounds in compensation paid to former slaveholders as a result of the Act, without similar recompense for freed slaveholders, cemented and increased racial injustices that are still felt today.

Antoinette Harrison, who lives in nearby Clapham, attended the event to march with her cousin and her cousin’s children.

On why she joined the event, the 38-year-old said: ‘We are tired.

‘And I was just saying, our parents have gone through, we’re going through this, and I don’t want our next generation to. It’s got to come to an end.’

She added: ‘What’s lovely about it is there’s such unity.

‘It’s not just the one race, like it was back in the day, now it’s whites, blacks, Hispanics – everyone.’

Asked if she had any concerns about coronavirus while attending, Ms Harrison, who has been protesting since earlier in the summer, said: ‘This is a pandemic – racism and not having justice.’

The protesters aimed to lock down Brixton because ‘WE/they are not being HEARD’ in their demand for the UK Government to establish the All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth & Reparatory Justice.

The event aimed to promote the necessity of stopping the genocide and ecocide of African people and their environments, Extinction Rebellion activists said. 

A curfew and other restrictions had been imposed on the planned demonstrations to stop people blocking main roads or planning illegal music events, Scotland Yard has said.  

 The Metropolitan Police on Friday said that blocking the road will cause ‘serious disruption’ to Brixton and the surrounding area because it is used by hundreds of bus routes and thousands of motorists.

Demonstrators brought Brixton to a halt and are urging the government to establish an inquiry for truth and reparatory justice

Demonstrators brought Brixton to a halt and are urging the government to establish an inquiry for truth and reparatory justice

A man takes part in the seventh annual Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March in Brixton this afternoon

A man takes part in the seventh annual Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March in Brixton this afternoon

Stop the Maangamizi is one of the organisations dedicated to bringing about reparations on the day slavery was abolished

Stop the Maangamizi is one of the organisations dedicated to bringing about reparations on the day slavery was abolished

Police were on scene as demonstrators marched through Brixton this afternoon to mark Afrikan Emancipation Day

Police were on scene as demonstrators marched through Brixton this afternoon to mark Afrikan Emancipation Day

Protestors brought Brixton to a halt on Afrikan Emancipation Day despite police restrictions imposed ahead of the event

Protestors brought Brixton to a halt on Afrikan Emancipation Day despite police restrictions imposed ahead of the event

Forever Family Force take to the streets of Brixton as part of seventh Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March

Forever Family Force take to the streets of Brixton as part of seventh Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March

Who are Forever Family? 

One of the group participating in today’s demonstration was Forever Family. Several members of the group marched wearing anti-stab vests.

According to the group’s social media announcements: ‘We are forever family united in building a self sufficient and stable community.

‘Creating a hub and avenues for funding, business start-ups, grants and investing. We believe in putting back in using all our experience and resources to deliver results.

‘We value the safety of our senior and junior generation. Their voices will be the motivation in what we stand for.’

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It said that it is imposing a number of conditions on the demonstrations within areas such as Windrush Square, Max Roach Park and outside Brixton Police Station. They must not spill into nearby roads and they must finish by 8pm.

The force said that the time limit was set so that officers could separate those attending the demonstrations from people attending other gatherings or unlicensed music events.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor, speaking ahead of the event today, said: ‘The decision to impose conditions on an assembly is never taken lightly and is made following a vigorous assessment of the information available to us.

‘We have no intention of infringing upon a responsibly-organised community event.

‘We only require that this is done in a way that makes use of Brixton’s open spaces and leaves the main road through Brixton open to other Londoners.

‘In recent weeks we have policed a number of UMEs (unlicensed music events) in which loud music is played at night, disrupting local residents and posing a real threat both to property and the officers who attend to disperse them.

‘We received information that there are those intending to come to Brixton on Saturday to purposely cause disruption, and to confront police officers.

‘This is in stark contrast to the feel of the events that will take place earlier in the day and is in opposition to the wishes of the local community.’

The Yard added that gatherings of more than 30 people will be in breach of the Health Protection (Coronavirus) Restrictions and its decision to impose conditions did not mean the assembly in breach of these regulations was authorised by police.

People were on hand to issue masks and hand gel to those in attendance as people seemingly breached social distancing

People were on hand to issue masks and hand gel to those in attendance as people seemingly breached social distancing

The march was carried out a coalition of organisations who joined to raise awareness of the cause for reparations

The march was carried out a coalition of organisations who joined to raise awareness of the cause for reparations

The Metropolitan Police said they worked with the local community to allow them to express their right to protest

The Metropolitan Police said they worked with the local community to allow them to express their right to protest

Motorcyclists supporting the Stop the Maangamizi Campaign and the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee take part in a march from Windrush Square to Max Roach Park in Brixton, London, this afternoon

Motorcyclists supporting the Stop the Maangamizi Campaign and the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee take part in a march from Windrush Square to Max Roach Park in Brixton, London, this afternoon

An Extinction Rebellion protester supporting the Stop the Maangamizi Campaign and the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee takes part in a march from Windrush Square to Max Roach Park in Brixton, London

An Extinction Rebellion protester supporting the Stop the Maangamizi Campaign and the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee takes part in a march from Windrush Square to Max Roach Park in Brixton, London

Demonstrators praised the unity of the march as different groups came together to march for Afrikan Emancipation Day

Demonstrators praised the unity of the march as different groups came together to march for Afrikan Emancipation Day

Demonstrators gathered in Windrush Square, in Brixton, before marching through the streets with signs and banners

Demonstrators gathered in Windrush Square, in Brixton, before marching through the streets with signs and banners

Police had imposed restrictions and a curfew ahead of the event over fears the demonstration would cause severe disruption

Police had imposed restrictions and a curfew ahead of the event over fears the demonstration would cause severe disruption

Who are Stop the Maangamizi: We charge genocide/ecocide

The group are campaigning for the government to establish an All-Party Parliamentary Commission for Truth & Reparatory Justice on Britain’s history of slavery. 

The term Maangamizi, is a Swahili word for Holocaust, according to  Professor Maulana Karenga.  

As well as raising awareness of Britain’s colonial past, the group claim that black people in the UK still suffer significant discrimination and face economic deprivation and a lack of opportunity. 

The group believes that Britain became a wealthy society having exploited African people and claim that their ancestors should receive restitution.    

Protesters claim descendants of slaves in Britain should receive reparations for their ancestors' suffering

Protesters claim descendants of slaves in Britain should receive reparations for their ancestors’ suffering 

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