LONDON — A British offshoot of the Black Lives Matter movement held demonstrations in several British cities on Friday to protest against racism in the U.K. and to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the death of a black man who was shot by British police.
Early on Friday, demonstrators blocked a road leading to London’s Heathrow airport, which brought traffic to a standstill in the morning. It was one of many demonstrations held Friday by Black Lives Matter U.K., which was holding its first major protests.
Video footage showed protesters blocking access to Heathrow, one of the world’s busiest airports, by lying down on a road leading there. The activists could be heard chanting “black lives matter” as traffic began to back up behind them.
London’s Metropolitan Police Service said 10 people were arrested at the demonstration near Heathrow, six of whom were “locked on” to one another. Heathrow officials apologized for any delays.
You can see footage here:
— Sky News (@SkyNews) August 5, 2016
The Black Lives Matter movement started in the United States three years ago because of the killings of black people by law enforcement officers. The campaign has since spread to other countries including Brazil, Canada and several European nations.
On Friday, the British organization was calling for a day of coordinated action across the country. Protests took place in London, Birmingham, Manchester and in Nottingham, where a group of protesters laid down on tracks of a tramline near the city center.
Black lives matter protest Nottingham town centre, chained themselves to the floor, all trams and most buses stopped pic.twitter.com/Z8hWeNRVSK
— Joe Howey (@howey555) August 5, 2016
— Stand Up To Racism (@AntiRacismDay) August 5, 2016
Organizers have called for an end to racism and say that law enforcement officers disproportionately target black people in Britain. An analysis by the Independent newspaper last year found that black people in London were more than three times as likely to be stopped and searched than a white person -- in one county in England, it was as high as 17 percent.
— #BlackLivesMatterUK (@ukblm) August 3, 2016
The protests come on the fifth anniversary of the death of Mark Duggan. In August 2011, police in north London fatally shot Duggan, a 29-year-old black man, sparking riots across England.
Imani Robinson, a spokeswoman for Black Lives Matter U.K., told the BBC, “This is an intentional disruption because our lives, our ability to live free and dignified lives, is being disrupted every day.”
When asked whether there would be more protests of this kind, Robinson said, “Until black lives matter in the U.K., we won’t stop organizing.”