A Black Lives Matter demonstration near Heathrow has caused traffic chaos outside the airport as activists take part in a day of protest across the country.
Protesters unfurled a banner reading “Black Lives Matter, this is a crisis” and lay in the road on the approach to the Heathrow tunnel on Friday morning. Activists also blocked traffic in Nottingham city centre and on the approach to Birmingham airport.
A Met police spokesperson said officers had managed to partially reopen the road to Heathrow and had made arrests but could not confirm how may.
A Black Lives Matter UK (UKBLM) spokesman said: “This morning UKBLM have #Shutdown 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.
“We have chosen today for our action to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Mark Duggan’s death at the hands of the Metropolitan police. We stand in solidarity with the families and friends of all who have died at the hands of the British state. We take action because justice has not been delivered through conventional means: the police, the IPCC, the courts or the legislature.”
The group highlighted that black people are more likely to be stopped and searched, arrested, convicted, die in police custody and receive harsher sentencing. It also said that black people are more likely to be unemployed than white people, more likely to be permanently excluded from school and referenced the increase in reported racist hate crimes since the Brexit vote.
The movement listed events taking place on Friday, including Alexandra Park in Manchester and St Peter’s Gate in Nottingham, both at 6pm, and Altab Ali Park in east London, at 6.30pm.
Traffic was reported to be at a standstill from junction four of the M4 as a result of the protest at Heathrow.
In Nottingham, protesters attached themselves to each other and lay across tram lines in the city centre, halting traffic.
In Birmingham, activists chanted “No Justice, no peace” as they blocked traffic on the approach to the city’s airport.
A West Midlands police spokeswoman said four women and one man had been arrested on the A45 in Solihull, close to Birmingham airport, just before 7.30am. She said it was unclear what the protest was about as officers were waiting to interview the suspects.
A Nottinghamshire police spokesman said: “Officers are currently on scene and are negotiating with a small number of protesters. It is believed that the unplanned demonstration is in line with a national #‎BlackLivesMatter protest. Our priority will remain the safety of everyone involved and to bring the demonstration to a peaceful conclusion.”
Heathrow airport advised people using the M4 to leave the motorway earlier at the A312 to avoid the congestion.
A spokeswoman said: “Heathrow supports the right to peaceful protest within t
----- snip -----
read full article at source: http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2...-traffic-chaos