Sunday 30 April 2017

Photos: Hundreds march in London to oppose racism

People on Regents Street, London to march against racism amid debates about the place of migrants in Britain after exit from the European Union.
People on Regents Street, London to march against racism amid debates about the place of migrants in Britain after exit from the European Union.

By Nilima Marshall

The protest took place amid debate about the place of migrants in Britain post-Brexit.

Hundreds of people gathered in central London to march against racism amid debate about the place of migrants in Britain after its exit from the European Union.

Protesters carrying brightly coloured placards gathered outside the BBC offices in Portland Place, near Oxford Street, shortly after noon on Saturday.

They marched to Parliament Square, where guest speakers included former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Mozzam Begg and shadow attorney general Shami Chakrabarti.

The event, organised by campaign group Stand Up To Racism, saw protesters of all ages take to the streets, with children scrawling “Stand up to racism” on the pavements in coloured chalk.

Lindsey German, convenor of the Stop The War Coalition, drew boos from the crowd with a mention of former chancellor George Osborne, who was announced as the new editor of London newspaper the Evening Standard on Friday.

She criticised the paper’s “vicious” campaign against Sadiq Khan in the London mayoral election last year, and said Osborne should not take the job.

She said: “He is a disgrace, and he shouldn’t be allowed to do this.”

Ether Onatskaia, 17, a Cambridge sixth form student who is originally from New York, said: “I think racism is a problem in the US and UK and we need to speak out against it.

“I feel like, because I’m white, I’m not so affected by it, so I need to make a stand.”

As the crowds began the march down Regent Street, small groups led the chant “Say it loud and say it clear, refugees are welcome here”, while drumming groups beat out a rhythm behind them.

The march came after a series of demonstrations against hatred of migrants and the presidency of Donald Trump in February.

Gerry Ford, 61, from Islington, who carried a placard through Piccadilly Circus, said she believes the decision to break from the European Union had been driven by racism.

She said: “This is a racist issue. People don’t realise it, but it is.”

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