— Morten Via Bank (@viabank) November 26, 2014
This post originally appeared in VICE UK
Over the last 48 hours, rioting and protests have taken place across America after a grand jury decided that charges shouldn't be brought against the Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson following his killing of black teenager Michael Brown. Tonight, activists in London have gathered outside the US embassy to show that the outrage is not confined to the US.
Organized by direct action protest groups the London Black Revs, NUS Black Students Campaign, Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC) and Defend the Right to Protest, it aims to draw parallels between what happened in Ferguson and police racism and brutality in the UK. A number of relatives and friends of victims of police brutality in the UK will speak at the event. The Facebook event listing reads: "We extend our full support to those resisting police brutality in Ferguson and their right to defend themselves, and urge that Black people on both sides of the Atlantic unify around and mobilise against the institutional violence that plagues our communities in the UK and the USA."
Wilson's acquittal was upsetting to many, but nobody was hugely shocked. As VICE's Molly Crabapple put it, "You already know, of course, that Darren Wilson got off. We always knew he would."
Anyone who remembers the acquittal of the killer of Mark Duggan, whose death sparked the English riots in 2011, will understand that feeling—the weird mix of being shocked at something you knew full well was going to happen. Duggan also didn't have a gun in his hand when he was shot, and yet his killer got off.
Eyewitness accounts that Brown had his hands in the air when he was killed have led to the phrase "Hands up, don't shoot!" becoming an often repeated chant at protests in the US. The organizers of the London event made this link specifically, saying: "In the same year that Mark Duggan's murder was deemed lawful, and where the USA's ongoing war on Black people has been defined by a string of killings of Black men by police, it is as important as ever to affirm solidarity between our people across borders."
VICE will have a full report on the event tomorrow.