To say that our demonstration on June 30th at the BBC Portland Place HQ was overdue is an understatement. The BBC has been the unofficial mouthpiece of the British establishment for as long as it has existed. The BBC has most certainly failed as a terrestrial channel that is supposed to be impartial and its journalists neutral on all subjects.
This demo was organised by Hands Off Somalia (HOS) to protest against the inaccuracies and fabrications of the BBC. The day was full of anti-imperialist sentiment as HOS has agreed from its formation; that Britain has no right to condemn any states as ‘failures’, let alone any right to invade them. And the BBC has been doing plenty of condemning.
Brother from Uhuru speaks at the protest to the crowd outside the BBC. Photo by Aimee Valinski
We were not there to make the BBC apologise for its wrongs, but to make sure they are made public. We have no illusions that we are going to change the BBC or the establishment; but we can change people and we can expand the use of our own media.
Demonstrations and campaigns like Saturday’s are just one of the ways to accomplish this.
It was a good day. Solidarity came from all groups and ethnicities, with everyone having their say. Around 60 people from Hands Off Somalia, Pan Afrikan Voice, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!, Uhuru, the We are Patrice Lumumba coalition and other organisations attended, plus speakers on Palestine, Bangladesh, Cuba, Libya, the Tamil struggle in Sri Lanka, Venezuela and the London uprisings. Not to mention the stunning poem at the end (our apologies to anyone missed out!).
The event quickly grew loud and militant. This escalated after we spoke to a group of employees of the BBC who walked past but just confirmed all our complaints with their arrogance. One employee even claimed that one of our Somali sisters ‘wasn’t African’!
At the end of the demo we marched up to the main entrance of the BBC carrying the banner to take pictures and voice our opposition to the terrible selective non-coverage of the situation in Somalia, which is just yet the latest example of the BBC’s role as the voice of the British government’s imperialist foreign policy.
HANDS OFF SOMALIA!
HANDS OFF AFRICA!
HANDS OFF THE WORLD!