Black Trans Lives Matter: Thousands march through London in place of Pride event

27 June 2020, 21:10

Demonstrators marched towards Downing Street on Saturday
Demonstrators marched towards Downing Street on Saturday. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Thousands of activists have marched through London in support of the Black Trans Lives Matter movement in place of Pride celebrations.

The usual large crowds seen for the LGBTQ+ community's Pride celebrations were forced to move their activities online this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Instead, a smaller crowd, still thousands strong, marched towards Downing Street on Saturday in support of the Black Trans Lives Matter movement.

The group stands for honouring black transgender people and raising awareness of the violence and prejudice they face.

A crowd gathered at Hyde Park Corner before a march, with many wearing face coverings and carrying signs displaying messages such as "Silence is violence", "Protect trans youth" and "No justice, no peace".

Read more: Thousands gather for peaceful Black Lives Matter protests across UK last Sunday

Read more: Marcus Rashford leads Premier League in show of solidarity with Black Lives Matter

Some of the demonstrators also carried fresh flowers, while banners said "Fight police brutality, fight racism! Fight imperialism!" and "Black trans lives matter".

The protesters were highlighting the recent deaths of two black trans women in the US, Rem'mie Fells and Riah Milton, who were killed earlier this month, and a British black trans woman Naomi Hersi, who was murdered at a hotel near Heathrow Airport in 2018.

68-year-old human rights activist Peter Tatchell and former Gay Liberation Front (GLF) members also marched in central London.

The demonstrators, some of whom are in their 70s and 80s, marched the route usually taken by the Pride In London parade and called for political action, including the end of deportations for LGBT asylum seekers.

Demonstrators held signs reading 'Black Trans Lives Matter'
Demonstrators held signs reading 'Black Trans Lives Matter'. Picture: PA
Some of the demonstrators held flowers while marching through London
Some of the demonstrators held flowers while marching through London. Picture: PA

Mr Tatchell said: "Today's march is a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Gay Liberation Front.

"We are seeking to reclaim Pride as an event for LGBT+ human rights."

Mr Tatchell added: "We hope that our protest will encourage people to remember the long, difficult struggle for LGBT+ rights and remember that here in Britain, and around the world, there are still battles to fight and win."

He said just around a dozen GLF veterans would be joining the march due to Covid-19 and having underlying health conditions.

Mr Tatchell added: "As well as campaigning for LGBT+ rights, we are expressing our solidarity with Black Lives Matter, and black LGBT+ people."

The Black Trans Lives Matter march was held in place of Pride celebrations
The Black Trans Lives Matter march was held in place of Pride celebrations. Picture: PA
Thousands attended the march despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic
Thousands attended the march despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Picture: PA

Many members of the LGBT community have opted to hold online celebrations throughout Pride month.

One such event is a 24-hour live stream celebration, Global Pride, which took place on Saturday from 6am.

Politicians and world leaders were set to take part in the event including US presidential candidate Joe Biden, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

Many celebrities were also expected to take part and perform in the live stream such as Sir Elton John, Stephen Fry and Natasha Bedingfield.

Online events will continue after Saturday, including the charities Amnesty International and Stonewall starting a week of celebration on Sunday.

The Pride Inside events will include LGBT performers and speakers and will last until 5 July.

This weekend's Pride celebrations come a week after three men were killed in a knife attack in Reading which particularly affected the town's LGBT community.

Joe Ritchie-Bennett, James Furlong and David Wails were killed during the incident in Forbury Gardens on 20 June.

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