U.S. civil rights activist arrives in Derry in advance of Bloody Sunday rally

Patrisse Cullors
Patrisse Cullors

The main speaker at this year’s Bloody Sunday rally has arrived in the city in advance of tomorrow’s march.

Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of ‘Black Lives Matter’, has just visited Palestine and London. Derry is the latest destination on her tour in telling the world her opinion about injustices that she believes are happening in the U.S.

Speaking to an audience in Pilots Row community centre, Derry, on Saturday afternoon Patrisse said: “In large part, many of us believe we [black people] are an internal colony within the US”

“Hearing stories here in Northern Ireland in particular, I argue that this is an international epidemic of state violence, and that is key in the moment as we are pushing for change, that we build international solidarity.”

Speaking of how the police, after shooting Michael Brown, left his body in full view of the community. This she equated this with how the KKK, after lynching a black person would leave the body hanging to humiliate, and was a means of social control.

“The only way the clan has changed is now they have a badge and a gun,” Patrisse said.

She also talked about how black people are economically marginalised and disproportionately imprisoned.

Ms Cullors spoke of the growing phenomena of activism, similar to that in the days of the American civil rights movement.

The campaigner also gave U.S. President Barak Obama the ‘thumbs down.’

Asked for her verdict on his tenure in the White House, Patrisse Cullors said: “Whilst I did vote for him, perhaps I was naeve. It doesn’t matter about the Presidency or who is in power. It doesn’t matter about the colour, it’s still the U.S. empire.

Local civil rights campaigner, Eamonn Mc Cann also spoke with the Derry Journal about why the Bloody Sunday issue is still very important locally.

He said: All over the world there are echoes of Bloody Sunday from Ferguson, Alabama to Palestine.

“The Bloody Sunday issue is far from settled. None of the senior military or political figures have taken any responsibility.The British state placed all the blame on a handful of soldiers.”

“The whole Bloody Sunday march and events are not only about atrocities, but also issues of poverty, which are international, be it in Derry or Detroit.

“Forty seven years after civil rights started in the North of Ireland, the primary cause was housing, and this remains a concern.

“Once water is in private hands, it’s now a commodity. This is what’s happened in Detroit and this is why there’s a campaign in Ireland.”