Refugees welcome here – No to Islamophobia – Yes to diversity
At 6pm yesterday 3rd June, people in Leicester joined Stand up to Racism’s call for people to “take the knee” on their doorsteps to say Black Lives Matter and demand justice for George Floyd.
This coincided with a strictly socially distanced protest at Leicester’s clock Tower to express solidarity with the movement for justice for George Floyd, and to raise the call for an independent public inquiry into the disproportionate BAME deaths due to Covid-19.
The protest started by asking participants to take the knee. This is inspired by American quarterback Colin Kaepernick bending to one knee during the National Anthem in 2016 to draw attention to racial injustice and police brutality, and expresses solidarity with the movement in Minneapolis, across the US and around the world, with thousands protesting their anger at institutionalised racism and police brutality here in Britain.
Speakers then included Labour Councillor George Cole who spoke of the victims of police violence here in the UK, and Shokat from Muslim Engagement and Development talked about racism being irrevocably linked to the system.
Olfa Atig Ben Salah, International Officer from Leicester City Unison linked police violence to institutional racism and the windrush scandal.
Representatives from the BFAWU, Unite and the Labour Party also spoke about the need to unite and organise against racism.
They were joined by people throughout Leicester who took the knee at 6pm.
Campaigners hope that the thousands nationwide joining in with today’s protest are inspired to join urgent campaigns to address institutional racism, including in Britain the disproportionate impactof Covid-19, and the fact that BAME communities are 54 per cent more likely to be fined under coronavirus rules. Police brutality is also a pressing concern in the UK as the recent tasering by police of Desmond Ziggy Mombeyarara in Greater Manchester shows.
Leicester East Labour MP Claudia Webbe said:
“Here in Leicester and across the UK we must stand in solidarity with
the family, friends and community of George Floyd in Minneapolis. We
cannot ignore yet another death of an unarmed Black man in police
The UK is not immunised from this disease of state sanctioned racism.
African, Asian, and minority ethnic communities disproportionately suffer
from police use of force in the UK; are over represented in detention &
the prison population and more likely to receive a custodial sentence. Of
the 1741 UK deaths in police custody in England and Wales since 1990
Black people particularly Black men have been disproportionately
Therefore I have called on the Government to take the opportunity to
reassess the racial disparities in our criminal justice system. Now is the
time to work globally to end the severe class and racial inequalities
which exist across the world”
You can join Stand Up To Racism here.
An independent public inquiry into the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on BAME communities is a central demand of many, and Diane Abbott MP has submitted an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons to that effect. Concerns have also been raised about the premature easing of the lockdown leading to a second wave of coronavirus infections, which could further disproportionately impact on BAME communities.