People Before Profit Cllr Shaun Harkin said,
“Today, I and 13 others received confirmation from the PPS that we would not face prosecution for participating in and organising Black Lives Matter protests almost a year ago.
This is very welcome news but it is long overdue. The prosecution threats and fines were an injustice from the beginning. Multiple investigations into policing of the June 6 Black Lives Matter protests in Derry and Belfast determined there was outright discrimination and widespread civil rights violations.
The threat of prosecution has been particularly harsh on members of the BAME community who initiated and led the BLM protests. It’s unacceptable that they have been harassed, undermined and threatened with being dragged before the courts for over a year. The June 6 protests were powerful acts of international solidarity but also put a spotlight on discriminatory policing and institutional racism here. BAME organisers and activists should be commended, saluted and backed for their bravery and resilience in standing up to the PSNI and political establishment here.
The entire Stormont Executive greenlighted the PSNI’s crackdown and then doubled-down on this by voting retrospectively to support legislation rushed through on June 5. In Derry, the so-called ‘Unity of Purpose’ group set the stage for the criminalisation of the protests.
The decision by the PPS not to bring prosecutions further vindicates the Black Lives Matter movement and all civil rights campaigners.
It’s urgent now that all the fines issued to people attending the Black Lives Matter protests in Derry and Belfast on June 6 be dropped.
The dropping of prosecution threats is a victory for people power and solidarity.
Going forward, it’s clear we have a tremendous amount of work to do in order to create a genuinely inclusive society that respects and values everyone. Real action and solidarity will be needed to challenge racism and discriminatory policing. The decision of the PPS following a year of campaigning should give everyone who wants to see a diverse and equal society confidence.”