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Londoners hold 'die-in' in support of U.S. protests

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A group of protesters stage a A group of protesters stage a "die-in" at the Westfield shopping center.Hundreds of protesters rallied Wednesday at one of Europe's largest shopping malls to show solidarity with U.S. demonstrations over the killing of unarmed black men by white officers.

Shouting "black lives matter" and "we can't breathe," the multiracial crowd marched through the Westfield center in west London and staged several "die-ins," echoing recent protests in the U.S. at Macy's Herald Square and Grand Central Station in New York City, as well as Union Station in Washington. Other protests in recent days have occurred in Berkeley, Calif., reports.

The U.S. has seen protests around the country since last Wednesday, when a New York grand jury decided not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo, whose apparent chokehold led to the death of Eric Garner, 43.

That decision came soon after a St. Louis grand jury declined to charge white police officer Darren Wilson over the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Mo., sparking days of protests there in late November.

The English protest was called by the London Black Revolutionaries, the National Union of Students Black Students' Campaign and the London Campaign Against Police and State Violence.

The demonstrators were also protesting over the deaths of several predominantly black men in London, including Mark Duggan — who was shot and killed by a police marksman in 2011, sparking nationwide riots — and Sean Rigg, who died in custody after being restrained at a police station in 2008.

A group of protesters stage a A group of protesters stage a "die-in" at the Westfield shopping center in support of U.S. demonstrations over the killing of unarmed black men by white officers.A jury found that Duggan was lawfully killed, although he was unarmed. Prosecutors said in October that two police officers investigated about Rigg's death will not face criminal charges.

The protesters also named Ian Tomlinson, a white man who died after he was pushed to the ground by police in 2009 during protests at the Group of 20 economic summit in London. His family received an out-of-court settlement from the Metropolitan Police after an officer was acquitted of manslaughter in 2012.

"I stand here in solidarity with the people of Ferguson, New York and the rest of the United States. ... You are not alone," Rigg's sister, Marcia Rigg, told the crowd of protesters. "We all have to stand together formally and in unity to show the world enough is enough. Our lives matter — black, white, Indian, Chinese — we are human beings."

Demonstrator Josh Blakely told USA TODAY, "I think the situation in America with all the senseless killings of young black men is disgusting. There have been killings here by the police as well."

He said he hoped Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old boy who was fatally shot by police in Cleveland and was later found to possess a toy gun, "gets justice."

The Metropolitan Police, London's police force, said 76 people were arrested on suspicion of public order offenses, including a man who was also held on suspicion of assault.

Last month an estimated 1,000 people in London gathered outside the U.S. Embassy to protest the Ferguson decision by marching down Oxford Street, the busiest shopping street in Europe.

December 12 2014, 11:07

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