Canning Town crane protest triggered by race report and Covid-19 curbs

crane protest

A man who has been on top of a crane in Canning Town since Wednesday morning has vowed to continue his protest. - Credit: Seema Jaharna

A protester who scaled a crane in Canning Town has vowed to continue after revealing his motivation for the demonstration was the government's race report and Covid-19 curbs.

The man unfurled a banner from the arm of the crane in Hallsville Road on Wednesday, March 31, and police were called at 7.23am.

Through an intermediary, he said the publication of Number 10's racism report led him to believe now was the time to remind people "not to accept injustices".

He also reported suffering an injustice "many years ago". Earlier reports suggested he might be acting for Black Lives Matter, but he has said he is acting alone.

The controversial report from the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities sparked a backlash after its publication on Wednesday.

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The study has faced criticism for concluding the UK no longer has a system which is rigged against people from ethnic minorities.

Commission chairman Tony Sewell said creating a successful, multi-ethnic society is hard, and racial disparities exist wherever such a society is being forged. 

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He added the commission believes if its recommendations are implemented, it will make Britain a beacon to the rest of the world.

In a statement released through an intermediary which has been shared on social media, the protester also states: "We must resist the reset."

The phrase has been used as a rallying cry by opponents of curbs introduced during the pandemic.

"If we continue to give up our freedoms now, we will never get them back," he said.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said its priority from the outbreak of the coronavirus has been to save lives, with regulations introduced to protect public health and bring down transmission.

Asked how long the action would last, the protester said "as long as it takes to raise awareness".

He also criticised the government's handling of the economy for fuelling poverty and divisions between people.

"We must do what we can to highlight the problems," he states.

The protester has also apologised to workers at the construction site who may have lost money.

The Metropolitan Police said on Wednesday its priority is the man’s safety. Work was ordered to stop at the building site.

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