Police have arrested 76 people who were part of a mass “die-in” protest at a Westfield shopping centre in Shepherd’s Bush, London. The protesters were originally part of a peaceful protest showing solidarity with US rallies sparked by the death of Eric Garner.
It is believed that around 600 people attended and formed two separate groups, one inside and one outside the shopping centre. Those inside were asked to make their way outside with no arrests being made at that time.
It was only later on that some protesters, who police said broke off from the core group and tried to get back inside the centre, were arrested on suspicion of public order offences. One man was also taken in on suspicion of assault.
It was reported in The Evening Standard that some shops were forced to shut their doors as demonstrators lay across the floor as if dead chanted “I can’t breathe!”
The protest was organised by campaign group London Black Revs, who staged a similar protest earlier this month outside the US Embassy in London over the grand jury decision not to indict a police officer for the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson.
Eric Garner died in July after being confronted by police for selling illegal cigarettes. Officers tried to arrest the 43-year-old, placing him in a chokehold from which the victim passed away. The father-of-six repeatedly gasped “I can’t breathe!” in an arrest that was captured on video.
A statement on the Facebook page of the London Black Revs said: “We would like to state that this is a non violent demonstration and we will be joined by international media broadcasting our die-In back to the screens of black Americans in the USA. We need to make our voices loud and heard.”