Black Lives Matter demo organiser charged by police with fraud over missing money

Exclusive: The 22-year-old from east London will appear at Bristol Magistrates’ Court in January

One of the organisers of the Black Lives Matter demonstration that saw the toppling of Edward Colston’s statue has been charged with fraud over a fundraiser linked to the protest movement, Bristol World can exclusively reveal today.

Xahra Saleem, aged 22, was also one of the co-founders of the All Black Lives Bristol movement - but in January she will appear before magistrates in Bristol charged with two counts of fraud by abuse of position.

It follows a lengthy fraud investigation by Avon and Somerset Police which looked into money which allegedly went missing from a crowdfunder initially set up for the demo on June 7 in 2020. Money allegedly went missing from the GoFundMe page called BristBLM for Changing Your Mindset, which was a St Pauls-based youth group.

The second count relates to a crowdfunder page, called Bristol Protestors Legal Fees, which raised money for people facing criminal proceedings in relation to protests in the city.

Xahra Saleem - pictured next to the plinth where the Colston Statue stood. She now faces two charges of fraud

Saleem describes herself as a co-founder of All Black Lives and a screenwriter. She was named among 30 of the most influential under-30s in Bristol by Rife Magazine last year.

In a statement provided to Bristol World, an Avon and Somerset Police spokesman said: “A woman is due in court at the start of next year after the Crown Prosecution Service authorised charges following a fraud investigation.

“Xahra Saleem, 22 and from East London, has been charged with two counts of fraud by abuse of position. She is due before Bristol Magistrates Court on Tuesday 3 January 2023.”

All Black Lives Bristol was created following the demonstration which saw the Colston statue toppled in 2020. It was set up to distinguish its members from an existing Black Lives Matter group in Bristol already in existance.

Saleem co-founded the group with others who it is not suggested are involved in any crime. It is not clear if the group is still active, and no new posts have been published on its social media channels since last year. Bristol World has contacted All Black Lives UK for comment.