Huge turnout for Black Lives Matter protest in Portsmouth

THE Black Lives Matter protest in Portsmouth has drawn a huge crowd.

Thursday, 4th June 2020, 1:54 pm
Updated Thursday, 4th June 2020, 2:27 pm

Pictures and video from Guildhall Square show protesters gathered and observing social distancing measures.

The protest, which was organised for 1pm today, has been sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in the US last month.

Large scale demonstrations have swept through America over the last week, with protests taking place in all 50 states.

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Protesters at the Black Lives Matter event on June 4 2020 in Guildhall Square in Portsmouth. Picture: Habibur Rahman

The Black Lives Matter movement has now come to Portsmouth, with a Stand Up to Racism rally taking place last night followed by the BLM protest today.

Teenager Estelle Tchangue, from Cosham, told The News why she is passionate about ensuring equality.

The 16-year-old, whose parents agreed for her to be in the newspaper, said: ‘I’m taking part because I’m very passionate about human rights and extremely driven to ensure equality.

‘I’ve been to a few protests regarding abuse of powers and rights and they really do make a difference, which is why I wanted to be involved with the BLM movement!

‘It’s something very close to my heart as I’m half African and myself have experienced racial abuse and have seen family and friends be affected.

‘So I’m going to show support and continue to spread the awareness that is being shown at the moment to hopefully achieve something locally and on a wider scale.’

Politicians have voiced their support for the demonstration.

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

Leader of Portsmouth City Council Gerald Vernon-Jackson tweeted: ‘Best of luck to the Black Lives Matter protest in Portsmouth today.

‘I would be with you but my husband is part of the high risk shielded group and I am therefore not going to anything away from the house except shopping and prescriptions. Racism in all forms unacceptable.’

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said: ‘The harrowing footage of the murder of George Floyd has quite rightly shaken the world. Tragically this is not a one-off event. It is endemic of a deep-set rot of racism that has infiltrated every aspect of society.

‘While the Black Lives Matter protestors in America are on the frontier of the battle for civil rights and their peaceful resilience is an inspiration, there are things that we can do here in Portsmouth to stamp the racist rot.

‘Voices must be heard otherwise complacency and failure to address racism in our own country will remain a grave injustice.

‘There remains considerable violence, prejudice and inequality against BAME communities happening across the UK. Down to the marrow of our society, there are economic, social and political injustices that stem from a lack of governmental support and action.

‘I therefore renew my commitment to call out repression, fight injustice and work with others to create a fairer more equal city not just for today’s generation, but for tomorrow’s.

‘To build a better society we must start here in Portsmouth and we must stand in solidarity together against racism and injustice around the world.’

Posting on the BLM Facebook event page earlier in the week, Ella Ruby said: ‘Although this is a peaceful event, attendees are encouraging people to keep themselves as non-identifiable as possible.

‘This protest is about police brutality and it would be naive not to prepare for the possibility that altercations might arise. It’s also not a fashion show and I’d like to discourage any white people from attempting to stand out.

‘You should not be attending to be the face of this cause, but to lend yourself to it.’

The Portsmouth protest comes after a large scale demonstration took place in London yesterday, with Star Wars actor John Boyega making an impassioned speech.

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