Police have arrested 76 people who were part of a mass "die-in" protest at a major London shopping centre.
Two peaceful protests had been held at Westfield shopping centre in west London - one inside the centre and one outside. It is understood those inside were asked to make their way outside and no arrests were made at that time.
Later protesters, who police said broke away from the main group and attempted to get inside the centre, were arrested on suspicion of public order offences, with one man further arrested on suspicion of assault.
In a statement, Scotland Yard said the breakaway group assaulted security staff and caused damage to property during the demonstration in Shepherds Bush.
According to Channel 4 News, the protest was organised by campaign group London Black Revs, who staged a similar protest earlier this month outside the US Embassy in London over the grand jury decision not to indict a police officer for the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Wednesday's event was held in solidarity with US protesters, who in recent weeks have marched to condemn the death of Eric Garner by New York police officer Daniel Pantaleo, an incident that has sparked a wave of discontent across the US mainland.
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Garner died in July after being confronted by police for selling illegal cigarettes in Staten Island. Officers attempted to arrest the 43-year-old, placing him in a chokehold from which the victim quickly succumbed. A statement on the Facebook page of the London Black Revs said: “We would like to state that this is a non violent demonstration and we will be joined by international media broadcasting our die-In back to the screens of black Americans in the USA. We need to make our voices loud and heard.”
The protesters, many armed with placards, chanted "no justice, no peace” and “we can’t breathe” during the die-in, a nod to the final words uttered by the prostrate Garner. The protesters then played dead, mimicking the demonstrations held across New York in recent days. Speaking to The Guardian, 21-year-old Wail Qasim, a student taking part in the protest, said: “People were obviously very angry about the situation in the US, because it’s reached a critical point. But it’s also a problem here in the UK – it’s an international problem which needs to be addressed."
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