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76 Arrested After London Protest In Solidarity With Eric Garner And Michael Brown

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Shepherd's Bush on Wednesday night in sympathy with US protests over the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. Update: Police confirmed the arrests on Thursday morning.

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Metropolitan police confirmed this morning that 76 people were arrested outside the Westfield shopping centre in Shepherd's Bush on suspicion of public order offences. One was arrested on suspicion of assault.

All 76 were taken to local police stations for questioning and many were emerging this morning.

In a statement, the Met said that a smaller group broke away from the main group and forced entry to the centre, "assaulting security staff and causing damage to property" in the process.

"In response to this police used a number of tactics – including a containment for the purpose of preventing violence and effecting arrests," the statement said.

Chief superintendent Mark Bird said: "We will always work with those that wish to demonstrate lawfully – as the majority of protesters did yesterday. However, we will not tolerate the small minority that offer violence or commit other criminal acts, such as that witnessed outside Westfield yesterday evening."

Our original story is below.

An estimated 400 protesters brought one of west London's busiest roads to a standstill on Wednesday night in solidarity with anti-police protests in the US.

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The protests were inspired by the widespread street activism in America in the wake of the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown and were centred around Shepherd's Bush, a busy shopping district. The protests caused disruption to the surrounding transport network and brought out a heavy police presence.

Cars and buses were stopped on Uxbridge Road at several intervals.

Their slogans included "Black lives matter" and "Police are not above the law".

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During a series of speeches, organisers said: "We're here in solidarity with those in New York," it was reported.

Protesters sat and lay down in the middle of the road.

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As in the US, the Shepherd's Bush protesters staged a "die-in", chanting "We can't breathe".

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The chant is a reference to the last words of Eric Garner, who died in New York City after a police officer put him in a chokehold.

To make matters worse for motorists, someone parked their car in the middle of the road.

Someone's parked their car in the middle of the road as part of the protest. Nothing moving for a while here.

Harry Horton@harry_hortonFollow

Someone's parked their car in the middle of the road as part of the protest. Nothing moving for a while here.

7:51 PM - 10 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

The protest moved into the vast Westfield White City shopping centre around 7pm, before moving on.

Eric Garner protest taking place inside Westfield, Shepherd's Bush

Chris Mendes@ChrisMendesUKFollow

Eric Garner protest taking place inside Westfield, Shepherd's Bush

7:07 PM - 10 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Shoppers didn't quite know what to make of the whole thing.

AFP / Getty Images LEON NEAL
AFP/Getty Images LEON NEAL
AFP / Getty Images LEON NEAL

It's not entirely clear why Westfield was targeted, but the tactics match the #ShutItDown protests seen in America in the last few months, in which protesters take over urban spaces in order to generate as much attention as possible.

One shopper filmed the scene as protesters filled the concourse.

Facebook: video.php

But 90 minutes later, protesters returned towards Westfield, with police trying to hold them back.

Police struggling to stop protesters entering Westfield shopping centre #BlackLivesMatter #c4news

Harry Horton@harry_hortonFollow

Police struggling to stop protesters entering Westfield shopping centre #BlackLivesMatter #c4news

8:24 PM - 10 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Then Westfield security did their best to hold people back.

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But without much success.

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And so protesters then found their way back inside, to the bewilderment of Christmas shoppers.

It was reported that police were then kettling protesters inside Westfield.

Met Police have now kettled about 100-130 protesters in Westfield. Bleak. #icantbreathe #ericgarner #london2nyc

Zing Tsjeng@misszingFollow

Met Police have now kettled about 100-130 protesters in Westfield. Bleak. #icantbreathe #ericgarner #london2nyc

8:59 PM - 10 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

The die-in was organised by various radical and student groups – one Facebook event invited 7,300 people.

The event's description reads: The suffering of Black people of marginalised genders should not be silenced by the media, the state and especially not by those who claim to fight for us. It is a fact that we can never forget the name Eric Garner.
Facebook: events

The event's description reads:

The suffering of Black people of marginalised genders should not be silenced by the media, the state and especially not by those who claim to fight for us. It is a fact that we can never forget the name Eric Garner.

Patrick Smith is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Patrick Smith at patrick.smith@buzzfeed.com.

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