By Photos by Chris Bethell, Words by Daisy May-Hudson
Apr 24, 2015
Yesterday in the middle of rush hour, about 200 people held a die-in for the people who have lost their lives in the Mediterranean, shutting down three lanes of traffic all around Westminster for over an hour.
In 2014, 3,400 migrants died from their boats capsizing as they tried to reach Europe. That's is more than two Titanic's, but a lot of politicians and journalists are refusing to see these people as people. Whilst a Hollywood blockbuster cemented the tragic loss of 1,500 lives in filmic history, the losses of 3,000 lives in the Med have been referred to as "boat capsizes".
With UKIP polling well and Katie Hopkins writing articles in the Sun that resemble chapters of Mein Kampf, it seems that the difference between these lives lost, is the colour of their skin. While this rhetoric is the preserve of fringe controversy merchants, it's implications hold sway in mainstream politics.
The march outside of Westminster was organised by the London Black Revolutionaries to draw attention to the "European Massacre". Blaming the EU for the blood of the children who died on the boats that capsized as they desperately try to flee, they argue this is a racial issue and "black and brown bodies have no sanctity".
Marching from the London Eye chanting "unemployment and inflation are not caused by immigration" and "detention centres – shut them down", they passed tourists frantically taking photos from all over the world on the London Southbank. On arriving outside the Houses of Parliament, the crowd signalled and together, walked into the road and lie down on the floor. Quickly unwrapping brown packages of yellow flowers, everyone placed a stem between their hands.
Banners with the word "migrants" crossed out and replaced with the word "people", made a point about the discourse surrounding these men, women and children who have lost their lives. Holding placards reading, "protect people, not borders", protesters pointed at the windows of the Houses of Parliament accusingly. Today Ed Miliband blamed David Cameron's intervention in Libya for the deaths – an intervention which Miliband himself supported. People were also shouting there is blood on the EU's hands.
Stopping rows of traffic in the centre of London, right in front of the gates of the politicians, surrounded by tourists from all around the world taking photos, the activists made sure that those who lost their lives trying to find peace could not be ignored.
@CBethell_photo / @dsyhdsn