An activist at the Harrow Black Lives Matter event last weekend says that “language” used by government officials and the media is “powerful” when shaping narratives.

In Harrow town centre last weekend (June 13) hundreds of peaceful protesters gathered in union to express solidarity with the global movement against racial injustices.

Despite the large crowd, attendees maintained social distancing as much as possible and were still able to show their support to the cause while mainly abiding to lockdown restrictions.

The event, organised by Harrow Labour, invited many key speakers to discuss the need to change the global systemic racism and truly address ongoing racial issues that have lasted for hundreds of years.

Harrow Times:

Anjum Peerbacos, a local activist, explained that it was important to not discuss the protest events collectively, as a minority group of people who vandalised or incited some violence in a few UK demonstrations does not reflect the rulings and feeling of Black Lives Matter as a whole.

Harrow Times:

She said: “The issue I have with the way that the narrative is being shaped in the media is that people in power and authority – in particular the Home Secretary and Prime Minister – have come out and spoken about the protests collectively, and that’s just not accurate.

“Language is so powerful and important when shaping that narrative.

“The BLM movement was postponed because we were worried about violence or vandalism taking place – they were pulled for that reason because the BLM protest has to be a peaceful protest.

“What happened yesterday in London was not a peaceful protest; that was people who wanted to antagonise the police, antagonise the authorities. You cannot and should not be referring to them in the same way.

“What happened in Harrow was a demonstration of peaceful solidarity with the BLM movement. It should not be categorised in the same way as the issues we saw arise in London yesterday and I think that the Home Secretary in particular, and the Prime Minister, need to make sure that that divide and distinct difference is made abundantly clear.”

Harrow Times:

Harrow Labour Left explained that the diverse population in Harrow came together “peacefully and with dignity like the majority of Black Lives Matter events up and down the UK”.

The group said: “We encourage everyone to familiarise themselves with the structural changes needed in this country and put pressure on our politicians to implement these.

“Education has been a recurring theme in the BLM movement recently and a local teaching assistant who spoke at the demonstration urged parents in the crowd to speak to their children's schools about what is being taught about black history and to push for more education on this topic, since in his own experiences he has found it to be lacking.”

Protesters at the event met up by the skipping Katie statue in the town centre, which was boarded up a day before the event.

Harrow Times:

There have been national demands from some demonstrators to remove some statues which glorify historical figures with connection to slave trading or racism.

Notably, the Katie statue would not have been a target even if it was not boarded up, as it has no connection with racial tensions, injustice or slave trading.

During the same day as the Black Lives Matter demonstration in Harrow, far-right groups in central London gathered to protect statues before they instead clashed with police, members of the public and some Black Lives Matter supporters.

During the far-right rally, 113 people were arrested and 23 police officers were injured.

More Black Lives Matter protests are expected to occur in surrounding areas this weekend, including a march from Rickmansworth Park on Saturday (June 20) between 2 to 4pm.

The demonstrators will meet behind the Waitrose.

To find out more information follow @blacklivesmatter_wd3 on Instagram.