The peaceful anti-racism demonstration was one of many taking place around the UK this weekend (June 6th-7th).
The protests come following the death of George Floyd, who was killed in the US city of Minneapolis on May 25th when a police officer knelt on his neck for almost 9 minutes. The unjust killing has resulted in thousands taking to the streets globally to support the Black Lives Matter movement and in protest of police brutality.
In Manchester the protest began in Piccadilly Gardens with thousands kneeling in silence to denounce the killing of George Floyd and show solidarity with anti-racism protests in the US and elsewhere. It was then followed by local activists giving speeches to the crowd.
An estimated ten thousand protesters, then marched down Market Street and could be heard chanting “No justice, no peace” with many holding placards bearing anti-racist slogans.
Placards were also seen listing the names of black people who have been killed by police brutality, in both the UK and the US, such as Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Mark Duggan and many others.
The demonstration was organised by an online group called ManchesterMarch who said “Through this standing march we are hoping that we are able to draw the government’s attention to the deaths of black people and help them be able to have basic human rights.”
“I feel like finally the world is waking up to the issue of racism and accepting we all need to do more to fight it”
Sanna Mclean, Protester
In the UK
Black people were eight times more likely than White people to be stopped and searched by police in 2018/19.
Black people are nearly twice as likely as White people to die either during or immediately after having contact with police.
Black people are more than six times as likely to die from police shootings.
Police are five times more likely to use force against Black people than White people.
The information outlined has come from various studies taken by Gov.uk and PoliceConduct.Gov
Sanna Mclean, who attended the protest said “It was an amazing experience that I can only describe as powerful… I feel like finally the world is waking up to the issue of racism and accepting we all need to do more to fight it.”
Another protester, Donna Jones, added “Everyone was trying to keep their distance, I’d say that most people were wearing masks and I saw people giving out free PPE for those that didn’t have any.”
Donna Jones, Protester
Health Secretary Matt Hancock urged people, on Friday, not to breach lockdown rules by taking part in mass demonstrations.
He said “Like so many, I am appalled by the death of George Floyd and I understand why people are deeply upset, but we are still facing a health crisis and coronavirus remains a real threat”.
ManchesterMarch organisers repeatedly advised protesters to wear PPE when attending the demonstration and urged them to adhere to social distancing rules.
In a statement, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said; “we stand alongside all those who are appalled and horrified by the way George Floyd lost his life – justice and accountability should follow.”
“We know people want their voices heard and the right to peaceful protest is a key part of democracy, which UK police uphold.”
Following Saturday’s protest GMP said “There were no arrests made and we received no reports of crimes linked to the protests.”
More information about the Black Lives Matter movement can be found at https://blacklivesmatter.com/