Idris Elba says UK is rising up in response to US police brutality: ‘You bleed in America, we bleed out there’

The actor argues there is a universal feeling of injustice which spans across the Atlantic

Maya Oppenheim
Thursday 01 September 2016 12:37 BST
Elba applauds the world for coming together after the attacks in Orlando and Nice
Elba applauds the world for coming together after the attacks in Orlando and Nice (Getty)

Idris Elba has argued the UK is rising up against police brutality directed towards the black community in America and that 2016 is the year of the "uprising".

The 43-year-old actor and musician said young black men in Britain feel solidarity with the black population’s plight against police violence in America and said there are parallels between both communities’ struggles.

Elba argued there was a universal sense of injustice spreading and society was no longer prepared to tolerate and submit to unjust acts.

“In England they rioted over the death of Alton [Sterling]“ Elba told Angie Martinez on Power 105.1 radio station. “They really, really kicked up and it went on for a day.”

Sterling, a 37-year-old father of five, was selling CDs in Baton Rouge in Louisiana in July when he was fatally shot by a police officer. He was shot in the chest and the back multiple times.

“It’s about the injustice and I think there is a unification about injustice at the moment, people don’t wanna stand for it," Elba added.

“And we’ve seen it time and time again, especially in England, where it resonates. We don’t have police with guns, so it feels crazy that we have crime just like you have in America ... but police don’t have guns.

“Young black men have been shot in England as well, not at the same rate … There’s definitely a universal feeling of uprising. You bleed in America, we bleed out there.”

Police brutality is a growing problem within America and this year saw the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Akai Gurley, Eric Garner and more trigger protests across the US. A study by The Guardian found the police had killed at least 136 black people in 2016 thus far. The same study found young black men were nine times more likely than other Americans to be killed by police officers in 2015.

Elba also applauded the world for coming together after the attacks in Orlando and Nice. “I think 2016 is definitely the year of the rise up,” he said. “So much has happened. So many people have something to say. Look at England and Brexit, the rise up that’s such a monumental moment in English history."

“Look at what has happened with terror and how people are being attacked meaninglessly and how people were pulling together from all over the world. Orlando, Nice.”

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