Black Lives Matter group blocks UK roads

Anti-racism activists brought traffic to a standstill on the road to Heathrow airport on a day of action which featured protests around the country.

Campaign group Black Lives Matter — or BLMUK — said it wanted to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the death of Mark Duggan, who was shot by police attempting to arrest him in north London, in August 2011, sparking nationwide riots.

The group called for “nationwide #shutdown” in a post on social media, and their protests resulted in more than a dozen arrests.

The activists said they had shut roads in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Nottingham to “mourn those who have died in custody and to protest the ongoing racist violence of the police, border enforcement, structural inequalities and the everyday indignity of street racism”.

Pictures posted on Twitter showed protesters lying in a row across the M4 slip road to Heathrow beneath a banner which said: “This is a crisis.”

Video footage showed police officers hunkering down next to the protesters, while chants of “black lives matter” could be heard as some people got out of their vehicles, which were bumper-to-bumper on the road into one of the world’s busiest airports.

Nottinghamshire Police said officers were negotiating with a small number of protesters, and photographs posted on Twitter showed four activists lying across tram tracks in the city of Nottingham.

Footage of the protest near Birmingham airport showed police officers pulling demonstrators away from the middle of the road.

Scotland Yard said four people were arrested in the Heathrow incident and taken to west London police stations where they remain in custody. A further six people were arrested at the scene.

West Midlands Police said four women and one man were arrested on suspicion of obstructing the highway.

A spokesman for Nottinghamshire Police said screens erected at the scene of the protest were to prevent distraction for motorists.

Screens were also in place at the scene of the Heathrow incident, where video footage appeared to show a number of police officers in the action of moving the protesters.


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