76 arrests over ‘die-in’ protest


Published: Thursday 11th December 2014 by The News Editor

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Police have arrested 76 people who were part of a mass “die-in” protest at a major shopping centre.

Two peaceful protests had been held at Westfield shopping centre in west London – one inside the centre and one outside. It is understood those inside were asked to make their way outside and no arrests were made at that time.

Later protesters, who police said broke away from the main group and attempted to get inside the centre, were arrested on suspicion of public order offences, with one man further arrested on suspicion of assault.

In a statement, Scotland Yard said the breakaway group assaulted security staff and caused damage to property during the demonstration in Shepherds Bush.

Crowds had gathered in solidarity with US demonstrators over the death of Eric Garner, a black man who died in New York City in July as he was arrested for selling loose, untaxed cigarettes.

Mr Garner repeatedly gasped ”I can’t breathe!” in an arrest that was captured on video.

Thousands have protested in New York and elsewhere since the announcement last week that a grand jury would not indict a white police officer over Mr Garner’s death.

The Metropolitan Police said they dealt with the protesters in London using tactics ” including a containment for the purpose of preventing violence and effecting arrests”.

Chief Superintendent Mark Bird, in charge of the policing operation in London, said: “We will always work with those that wish to demonstrate lawfully – as the majority of protesters did yesterday. However, we will not tolerate the small minority that offer violence or commit other criminal acts, such as that witnessed outside Westfield yesterday evening.”

The Met said their enquiries into the incident are continuing.

London protest organisers wrote on Facebook that the event was being held to denounce “the lack of consequences for Eric Garner’s murderer, as well as against the institutionalised racism of police in both the US and the UK, and the continued murders of black people that go unpunished”.

Pictures posted on Twitter appear to show hundreds of people gathering at the shopping centre and lying on one another as if dead.

“So much respect to the people having manicures in Westfield who stood up and joined in chanting ‘I can’t breathe’,” one user wrote on the social networking platform.

Published: Thursday 11th December 2014 by The News Editor

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