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South London #BlackLivesMatter protest marches on Downing Street
Magnus Dewsbury, Southwark Socialist Party
"I shouldn't have to justify why my life is worth the same as that of my white neighbour," summed up a speaker to applause from the crowd of around 100 protesters. We were gathered for one of three concurrent Black Lives Matter demonstrations taking place across London on 6 August.
Southwark Unison assistant branch secretary and Socialist Party member April Ashley brought support from the union movement and laid bare the racial impact of austerity on the council workforce she represents and the community it serves.
Then we set off on the long march from Southwark Park to Downing Street. The summer sun had people out on the streets, strolling, shopping, eating and drinking, and the young, lively demonstration won much support as it went, swelling its numbers along the way. Stopping at key road junctions on the route, there were sit down protests and extra-loud chants for maximum impact.
The Socialist Party lent its support and leaflets with ideas to take the movement forward were very well received. These called for democratic community control over police policy and hiring, as well as demands addressing immediate problems of low pay and poor housing, which disproportionately affect black and ethnic minority people. Fighting these problems is also needed to help cut across the roots of racism.
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