Since the murder of George Floyd on the 25th of May 2020 the global resistance to police brutality and white supremacy by Black and POC communities, the Black Lives Matter movement and many white allies has been emotional, inspiring and at points has given us the feeling that real change is possible when people unite and fight back against their common oppressors.
We, like many others were sickened by the brutal and horrific murder of George Floyd at the hands of so-called officer Derek Chauvin and his fascist police accomplices.
Witnessing the video of the murder was traumatic and brought home the realities of police brutality that is often supported by a justice system weighed against us due to the colour of our skin.
It’s clear that the murderous intent and brutality of the police in the US echoes across the globe. The police are the enforcers of the state and uphold white supremacy. There primary purpose is to maintain the status quo and protect the rich and ruling class.They are the absolute enemy. The ongoing fight against their authoritarianism has been one of the most important moments of 2020, and as we have always supported Black Lives Matter we decided to attend the 10,000 strong Bristol protest on the 7th of June.
We arrived as the first speeches were beginning on College Green. With content ranging from beautiful poetry on blackness and racism to recordings from comrades in Chicago through to abolitionist fighting talk we knew that from that moment on the mood was set and the day was going to be a good one.
As the march began There was little to no police presence, and as we headed towards the city centre it was clear that the streets were ours. The crowd was diverse , friendly and Bristol at it’s very best. It was fantastic to see so many come together and unite for a common cause.
Spirits were high from College Green through to Castle Park and reached even greater heights when the statue of slave trader Edward Colston was finally torn down, not by petitioning the state but by the people of Bristol, showing the world that direct action really does gets the goods!
This event has made global news and has inspired many to take action against statues and monuments to white supremacy in the UK, demanding they be torn down and that those who lost their lives to Britain’s tyranny should never be forgotten, this additional wave of protests has continued despite the racist right attempting “defences” of everything from cenotaphs in Bristol to Churchill’s statue in London. We’ve got a lot to say to about these new fascist infiltrated mobilisations in our next article, and we were pretty amused to see some of the scum from Bristol City’s notoriously racist City Service Firm make an appearance in front of a strong crowd of anti-racists on the march, bravely defending the Cenotaph from no one but themselves and well protected behind police lines.
It was good to see the crowd’s hostility towards the hooligans and it was clear they felt more than a little uncomfortable as chants of Nazi scum! Filled the air. Later in the day we saw a video of one “patriot ” trying to land a punch on a female protestor. Fascists never change their spots, and just like their masters in the police they are traitors to everyone.
We stayed with the march through to Castle Park, keeping vigilant and aware of any potential threats. Although the police had become a little more visible by this point we didn’t catch sight of more of the far right, only hearing reports a little later on in the afternoon that they stayed near the centre in defence of a monument that no doubt to their disdain also honours black lives lost to the horrors of war.
There were more great speeches at Castle Park and the day finished with music and dancing, it was good to stand with so many fellow anti racists and black and POC comrades! Anti-blackness and racism is a part of fascism and is upheld by the institutional racism of the police and by the far right on the streets. We stand in solidarity with the families of those who have lost their lives at the hands of the police in the US and the UK and with communities of colour globally in their fight against white supremacy. Respect and support for the Colston statue topplers! Black Lives Matter, and as always Bristol is antifascist.