Power to the people: A year of activism on the streets of London

Angela Christofilou documented protests across the capital throughout a tough year

The coronavirus pandemic has dominated the entire year, with many countries still experiencing second and third waves of Covid-19 cases. But 2020 also saw a wave of important demonstrations and marches across the world as people took to the streets to protest against injustices and demand a fairer, more equal and sustainable future.

I documented a range of these protests in London, from the women’s strike march on International Women’s Day, calling for an end to violence against women, to the climate emergency movement, calling for a future that prioritises people and the planet over profit at this turning point in history. 

Throughout the summer, thousands in London took part in the Black Lives Matter protests against racism and police murder after the killing of George Floyd in the US. There were also actions held in London for trans rights, protesting against the proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act that would put trans people further at risk in our society. The trans protests also raised awareness of lives that have been lost as a result of horrific attacks and transphobia and to celebrate the trans community. 

Protest actions took place in London in solidarity over injustices in other countries, including protests outside the Nigerian High Commission against the violence and torture that the Sars police unit has been using against the country’s civilians. In July,  protesters also gathered to raise awareness of the millions of people in need of protection, humanitarian assistance, water and food in war-torn Yemen, the largest humanitarian crisis in the world.

During the pandemic, a small group of people protested outside the Chinese embassy in London to condemn human rights abuses in China, calling for an end to concentration camps and the forcible detention of one million Uyghurs. In October, a vigil was held outside the Home Office in London, in memory of all those whose lives have been lost as a result of the brutality and cruelty of immigration policies. Outside the Polish embassy in London, hundreds of people came together to protest against Poland’s strict new abortion laws after a court ruling banned almost all abortions.

Protest actions during the pandemic and after the first lockdown in London followed social distancing rules, protesters wore masks and kept a distance on the streets. Vulnerable people or those showing signs of the virus that were unable to join in on the streets, stayed at home and showed support either by donating to the causes or attending virtual protests, making 2020 a year of activism online and offline.

For more of Angela Christofilou’s work you can visit her website here

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