Friends have held a vigil for a British Black Lives Matter leader who took a bullet in the head when a London gang carried out a botched drive-by shooting to assassinate a rival at the end of an all-day party.
Demonstrators gathered at the bandstand in Ruskin Park, Lambeth, to ‘pray’ for Sasha Johnson, 27 – the self-styled ‘Black Panther of Oxford’ who called for the police to be defunded after the murder of George Floyd and helped lead the ‘Rhodes Must Fall’ campaign to topple controversial statues. The activist is fighting for her life in hospital following the attack in Peckham, which her political party claimed came after she received multiple death threats.
But today family friend Imarn Ayton, founder of the UK Black Reformist Movement, said Sasha, famed for wearing black military uniform at protests including a stab-proof-style vest, was caught up in a dispute between two rival gangs – and was not shot because of her activism. ‘It was wrong place, wrong time. I do not believe she was the target’, she said.
A poster shared on social media to promote this afternoon’s vigil said it would offer ‘prayers for Sasha’. Online activist page Justice for Black Lives asked supporters to ‘show support for her recovery’ and ‘take a stand against senseless violence’ at the event. Pictures showed supporters crying and embracing each other as they gathered outside.