Justice For George Floyd protest takes place in Portsmouth's Guildhall Square

MORE than 100 people took part in a peaceful demonstration in Guildhall Square on Wednesday to show solidarity with protesters in the US after racial tensions flared following the death of George Floyd.

By Neil Fatkin
Wednesday, 3rd June 2020, 10:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 4th June 2020, 7:25 pm

Stand Up To Racism Portsmouth representative, Simon Magorian, 61, organised the Justice For George demonstration to allow people to show their united support in the fight against racism currently being experienced on the other side of the Atlantic.

Racial tensions have escalated following the death of George Floyd, 46, after he was restrained by a police officer who has now been charged with third-degree murder.

Mr Magorian said: ‘It was a good turn out with a real diverse mix of people which shows the depth of feeling over what happened. The death of George Floyd was the straw that broke the camel’s back – there have been other incidents of black men being killed in the US.

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Stand Up To Racism Portsmouth representative, Simon Magorian, at a previous anti-racism demonstration. Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘This is the biggest explosion of racial tension since 1968 and the assassination of Martin Luther King – only this time there are a lot of white people involved in the protest. However it’s not just in the US where there’s a problem. We still have institutionalised racism in this country.’

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During the socially distanced protest people were given the opportunity to “take the mic”, which was wiped with sanitiser, and speak out on their concerns.

Mr Magorian said: ‘There were a lot of young people involved and I think they found it very empowering.’

Former professional footballer, Richie Moran, taking part in the protest Picture: Habibur Rahman

With President Donald Trump coming under fierce criticism for his handling of the situation, Mr Magorian feels Boris Johnson should be more vocal in his his condemnation.

‘Obviously we want the government to be more critical of what’s going on there,’ said Mr Magorian.

The demonstration was also looking to draw attention to racial inequalities and the disproportionate number of people in the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities dying due to Covid-19 both here in the UK and abroad.

Mr Magorian said: ‘BAME communities are often living in poor socio-economic conditions which leads to poor health conditions which can account for the disproportionate number of deaths. We need fundamental change in Britain to address increasing levels of poverty.’

Shakira Newton displays a strong message at the protest. Picture: Habibur Rahman

While Mr Magorian feels there is ‘still a long way to go’ in tackling racism in the UK he feels the city of Portsmouth is an example of how multiculturalism can thrive.

‘While there’s still racism in Portsmouth it’s certainly less than a lot of other cities. Portsmouth is a good multicultural city – you go to somewhere like Albert Road and it’s buzzing with multiculturalism. I think many people have a lot of pride in this.’

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Protesters gather in Guildhall Square for the "solidarity" protest. Picture: Habibur Rahman

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