Following the fatal shootings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling in Louisiana last week, there have been a number of protests internationally in response, all showing their support for the #BlackLivesMatter campaign.
Most notably the ones in London over the weekend, where areas of central London came to a standstill as protesters marched to the Houses of Parliament. The protests were organised by London's Black Lives Matter movement. The crowd chanted "No justice, no peace" with many holding signs that read "Black Lives Matter, end white supremacy".
Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday afternoon also saw more than 500 people gather to show their solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movements happening around the world. Cicely-Belle Blain of the Vancouver Black Lives Matter chapter commented that "We haven't been able to organise vigil for everyone, and that's a sad situation". Blain also stated that "I think the Vancouver community doesn't really understand why it's important to say that black lives matter and why it's important for a Black Lives Matter chapter to exist in Vancouver, so this is just a reminder of that".
London arguably had the strongest response to the Louisiana shootings outside of the US. Which considering the fact that between 2012 and 2015 the "police in Britain have fatally shot two people" , which is less than the average number of people shot by police in the US every day over the first five months of 2015, some have been left wandering why protests sparked.
Marayam Ali the founder of the Black Lives Matter movement in London addressed this when she stated "By these people coming here to stand and unite, they are showing that they are against police brutality and that's the most important thing. I think people forget that racism is a worldwide thing. It's still prevalent. This is ultimately a cry for help".
Ali's message is one that has been reiterated throughout social media, with the hashtag #stopkillingthemandem trending in the UK. The important message, from all the international protests, is that although instances of police brutality are less prevalent in places like the UK and Vancouver, the deaths of Sterling and Castile still sparked outrage and fear. The emotional response many had to the shootings is what ultimately acted as the catalyst for these demonstrations; people wanted to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Hundreds of signs at the London rally read "Yes all lives matter, but we're focused on the black ones right now, ok? Because it is very apparent that our judicial system doesn't know that. Plus, if you can't see why we're exclaiming #blacklivesmatter you are part of the problem".
Stormzy, a UK Grime artist reinforced this when he went on social media and wrote "Don't be the stupid idiot who thinks because we live in the UK that this isn't an issue for us to take on. Don't be the stupid idiot who thinks because we live in the UK that black people don't experience racism from the police- don't be so flipping naive. We have black brothers and sisters dying in the States and we'd be cowards to just brush it off. This is all of our problem".
These declarations of support, and the thousands more on social media, from outside the US proves that the Black Lives Matter movement is one with international weight behind it, and that the the US is not alone in their struggle for equality.
Photo Credit: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian, Hyperfrank, Reuter
Video Credit: Buzzfeed