On Thursday, July 14th, two women Mary Consolata Namagambe (Law student) and Sade Johnson (student) decided to organize a Black Lives Matter Protest demonstration at Copenhagen’s City Hall Square in solidarity with recent events in the U.S.
Demonstrations have been taking place in the U.S. as well as European cities such as London, Paris and Berlin in response to two recent police killings of African American men. Alton Sterling, 37 from Louisiana and Philandro Castile, 32 from Minnesota are among the latest victims to have received worldwide media coverage as a result of their murders at the hands of local police, which were recorded and shared widely on social media networks. It was the murder of Philandro Castile, a man with no police record but who was an upstanding part of his community that seemed to strike a particular chord with people in the U.S. and the world over continuing the debate around police brutality and the continued murdering people of African descent at the hands of the law.
The Black Lives Matter protest demonstration in Denmark illustrated the strong support and empathy with the movement. The energy was positive, and the message clear: there are people in Denmark who hear the cries from the U.S. and the Black Lives Matter movement. It is clear that this movement has struck a chord beyond the U.S. and its organizers Sade Johnson and Mary Consolata Namagambe were both moved to organize this event after seeing Lavish Reynolds and learning of her experience of witnessing her fiancé murdered, while her 4-year-old sat in the car.
The programme included speeches, singing and poetry. Writer and blogger Lesley-Ann Brown presented the main speech which reflected on her 17 years of living in Denmark and the connections to be made between the violence witnessed in the States and the experiences of people of African descent the world over, David Trads spoke about his knowledge and experiences of American racism, Feridah Rose sang and brought many to tears and Celeste Nishimiyimana performed powerful poetry. There was space for spontaneous speeches as well which reflected the solidarity and empathy with the Black Lives Matter movement.
However there are some critics of the Black Lives Matter movement, with some of the criticism revolving around the funding of the group and whether or not the movement promotes violence, especially after the shooting on July 7, that killed 5 police officers and injured 9 at a peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstration in Dallas, Texas. It is reported that the shooter, Micah Xavier Johnson who was blown up by a bomb robot, the first time ever such a device was used on U.S. soil, managed to say the organization’s name before his death.
Critics also mention that the BLM group, which claims to be a grassroots organization, seems to have been funded by controversial figure American Hungarian George Soros, who has been referred to as the “man who broke the bank of England”. On his website, Soros is described as “a prominent international supporter of democratic ideals and causes for more than 30 years. His philanthropic organization, the Open Society Foundations, supports democracy and human rights in more than 100 countries.” Critics claim that the BLM movement is being used to orchestrate a race war by the elite so that Marshall law will have to be declared and personal rights will be further curtailed in the wake of 9/11 and the U.S. government’s war on terror.
Pictures from the demonstration: