Eric Garner’s dying words of “I can’t breathe” continue to echo around the world.
Hundreds of people chanted this last plea as they staged a die-in at a west London mall on Wednesday night, in solidarity with the loved ones of Garner and the mass mobilizations for racial justice that continue to build across the United States.
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Bearing placards that read “Black Lives Matter,” protesters lay down inside and outside a Westfield shopping center in Shepherd’s Bush. The civil disobedience brought much of the commercial center to a halt before 76 people were arrested. Many of those detained, including some who were not even participants in the demonstration, were held overnight, organizers report.
“Our protest was non-violent and was shut down because it was effective,” reads a Thursday joint statement from organizers with the groups London Black Revs, National Union of Students Black Students’ Campaign, and London Campaign against Police and State Violence. “The protesters have made it clear that the issue of police impunity to kill people of African descent is strongly felt and relevant here in the UK.”
The action was billed as a response to the killing by choking of Garner, a 43-year-old unarmed black man and father of six, at the hands of a white police officer—whose non-indictment for the killing fueled public outrage. However, organizers also called for solidarity with all “black lives ended by police officers” on both sides of the Atlantic—from Mike Brown to Tamir Rice to Joy Gardner.
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