The banner “White Lives Matter” drawn Monday by a plane flying over the football match between Manchester City and Burnley, has been strongly criticised on Tuesday in England, while the police is looking for those responsible.
An airplane pulling a banner that read “White Lives Matter “Burnley” appeared in the sky shortly after all players in the match had put a knee on the ground for a tribute to the movement “Black Lives Matter” (BLM) which fight against racism and police violence.
This collective action has taken place prior to all matches since the resumption of the Premier League on 17 June.
“The goal of BLM is not to diminish the importance of the life of other people,” pointed out Sanjay Bhandari, chairman of Kick It Out, who struggle against discrimination in the English football.
“This is to emphasize that black people are deprived of certain human rights solely because of their skin color. It is a question of equality,” he continued.
At the end of the evening, the police said it had investigated the incident and have not found any criminal offence.
“The police in Lancashire has been in liaison with the greater Manchester police, the aviation authorities and the prosecution service judicial of the Crown about the banner “White Lives Matter” pulled over the Etihad Stadium last night,” says the police in Lancashire.
“After having analyzed all the information available about this incident, we have concluded that no criminal offence had been committed that day,” she says.
However, “we recognize that this banner will have offended a lot of people,” added Russ Procter, the head of the regional police, quoted in the press release.
“In and of themselves, the words [“White Lives Matter”] are not insulting”, also recognized Iffy Onuora, head of the equality issues for the Professional Footballers’ Association, the players union. “It’s just the context. They show a rejection of the current debate”, he added.
The club of Burnley has immediately condemned the banner.
“The club is proud of the work done through its programs recognized community in collaboration with all genres, all religions or all beliefs, and is opposed to any form of racism,” according to a press release from Burnley, which promises to banish from the stage the authors of the banner.
“White Lives Matter”, frequently used by europe’s far right, is a slogan born in the circles white supremacist in the United States in response to the movement BLM.
On 13 June, in Paris, during a demonstration against racism and police violence, the small group of far-right Generation Identity had deployed a banner with this slogan from the roof of a building on the route of the procession.
“For the moment, we don’t know who is behind it, has allowed Piara Powar, executive director of Football Against Racism in Europe, an NGO anti-racist.
“The opposite of the message of the BLM, “White Lives Matter” can only be motivated by racism and the denial of equal rights. The reactions racist movement BLM are a trend in Europe that we have observed and documented”, said Mr Powar.