Protesters aiming to stop Brixton halted traffic by blocking main roads on Saturday, despite restrictions imposed by police in the area.
Hundreds of people gathered in South London for the seventh day of the Afrikan Emancipation Day March.
A large crowd has now stopped traffic and forced motorists to turn around by walking on the A23 Brixton Road.
It comes after a coalition of groups including Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee, Rhodes Must Fall Oxford and Extinction Rebellion warned they would block the A23 Brixton road from Max Roach Park to Windrush Square and occupy the area for the day. .
Organizers planned to close a main road through central Brixton to protest a lack of action on the issue of reparations for slavery.
Scotland Yard said on Friday that while the majority of attendees would gather for “a fun and socially distant day of activities and learning”, it was imposing an 8 p.m. curfew and other restrictions on event.
Crowds of people listened to music in Windrush Square – where the event began – watched speeches and observed a three-minute silence to mark the event, which is in its seventh year.
Held on August 1, it marks the adoption of the 1833 law on the abolition of slavery, according to the organizers.
A coalition of groups were involved in the event on Saturday, including Stop The Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide / Ecocide, the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee and Rhodes Must Fall activists in Oxford.
Protesters, tanks with loudspeakers and motorcyclists spilled over Brixton Road shortly before 4 p.m. and started marching towards nearby Max Roach Park.
Antoinette Harrison, who lives in nearby Clapham, praised the event’s ‘unity’ as she walked with her cousin’s and cousin’s children.
Of why she chose to join, the 38-year-old said: “We are tired. And I was just saying our parents been through it, we’re going through it, and I don’t want our next generation to do it. It must end.
She added: “The beautiful thing is that there is such a unity.
“It’s not just a race like it was then, now it’s white people, black people, Hispanics – everyone.
When asked if she had any concerns about Covid-19 when attending, Ms Harrison, who had been protesting since the start of the summer, said: ‘This is a pandemic – racism and the lack of justice.
Large numbers of Metropolitan Police officers observed the event, some attempting to move protesters, many of whom were wearing masks, off the road and onto the sidewalk.
Ahead of the protest, the force said blocking the road would cause “serious disruption” in and around Brixton as it is used by hundreds of bus lines and thousands of motorists.
A number of conditions have been placed on protests in areas such as Windrush Square and outside Brixton Police Station, stipulating that participants must not sprawl on nearby roads and that any event must end at 20 hours.
Metropolitan Police said the deadline was set for officers to separate people attending protests from people attending other rallies or unlicensed music events.
He also said gatherings of more than 30 people would violate health protection restrictions (coronavirus) and that his decision to impose conditions did not mean that the gathering in violation of those regulations was permitted by the police.