#BLM, News

Black Lives Matter protest brings Norwich to standstill

The latest event hosted by the Black Lives Matter Norwich Movement saw a protest march attended by around 500 in Norwich City Centre on 7th June.

The group initially congregated within Chapelfield Gardens and marched down Theatre Street, across Millennium Plain, onto St Peters Street, turning around and finally returning to Chapelfield Gardens.

The organisers were joined by a group from Extinction Rebellion Norwich, who bought drums along for the march, as well as other groups such as Stand Up To Racism East Anglia and local trade unions.

On the return to Chapelfield Gardens a First Bus on displaying the route number 21 was engulfed by protestors before the police were able to close the road.

Upon return to the park, the protestors knelt on one knee and raised their fists to the air and were chanting “no justice, no peace” and “say his name, George Floyd” before gathering around the bandstand to listen to speeches from the organisers. There was also an ‘open mic’ for anyone to get up and talk about the BLM movement.

Stewards were patrolling the crowds handing out facemasks and hand sanitiser, while reminding people to keep two metres apart.

One of the speakers was keen to highlight that these events are not an ‘Instagram movement’, adding “you cannot just show up, take a photo with your sign and move on”. The organisers emphasise the Black Lives Matter movement is not just a trend and they will continue to host the events until they see the change being called for.

Whilst many of the speakers spoke about their personal experiences of racism and the need to bring an end to discrimination, there was also a call for better education, a decolonisation of the national curriculum, and to teach more Black history in schools. Speaker Salah el Nagar, an Egyptian human rights activist, poet and writer, read a poem encouraging people to love one another.

The organisers finished the day stating there will be events every Sunday at 2pm to provide a platform to anyone who wants to use it, to help amplify voices within the Black community.

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Roo Pitt