(London) British actor Idris Elba launched a campaign on Monday calling for a ban on bladed weapons, such as machetes, in order to reduce the number of young people killed by knives in the United Kingdom.
“I cannot remain silent while young people lose their lives in brutal crimes,” said the 51-year-old actor, best known for his roles in the series The Wire and Luther.
Piles of neatly folded clothes have been lined up in a square near Parliament in London to represent people who have died following knife crime.
“We cannot let knife crime increase. We have to put an end to this,” Idris Elba said in front of these piles of clothes.
According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, around 250 people were killed with knives between July 2022 and June 2023 in England and Wales.
In London in 2023, 21 minors were killed in violence, 18 of whom were stabbed, shocking public opinion.
In September, fifteen-year-old Elianne Andam was stabbed to death on her way to school in London. Shortly before midnight on December 31, sixteen-year-old Harry Pitman was killed as he prepared to watch fireworks in the British capital.
The sale of firearms is strictly controlled in the United Kingdom, but young people are easily able to equip themselves with impressive “zombie” knives, inspired by horror films and associated with gang culture. These double-edged weapons, with curved blades, can be bought for a few dozen pounds on the internet.
“I’m calling for a ban on machetes and zombie knives. It won’t be enough to eradicate the problem, but it will signal that our society does not tolerate” these crimes, the actor said.
The British government promised at the end of August to ban all knives or machetes longer than twenty centimeters, with holes in the blade and sharp points, “designed to threaten without having any practical use”.
But since then the ban has not materialized.
“It’s ridiculous how easy it is for young people to buy knives and hurt other people,” said Nadine Searchwell, whose 22-year-old son was killed in October while going to get a pizza, when the campaign launches on Monday.
“The government doesn’t pay attention to it, because it’s not one of their” children, she accused this 39-year-old mother.