Dozens 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.
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 demonstrators joined hundreds of others marking Afrikan Emancipation Day in Windrush Square, Brixton this afternoon
Protesters supporting the Stop the Maangamizi Campaign and the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee
Protesters began marching down Brixton Road towards Max Roach Park, blocking the road and stopping traffic.
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.
Demonstrators brought Brixton to a halt and are urging the government to establish an inquiry for truth and reparatory justice
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
Protestors brought Brixton to a halt on Afrikan Emancipation Day despite police restrictions imposed ahead of the event
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.
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.
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
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
‘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.