Black Lives Matter: Protesters take the knee in Islington
- Credit: Archant
Islington protesters took a knee in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter, following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Socially distanced and many wearing face masks, a group from Islington Stand Up To Racism gathered for speeches in front of the town hall on Wednesday.
Protests were held across London, with large gatherings at Hyde Park and Parliament Square.
One Islington protester, who asked not to be named, described the event as “emotional”, telling the Gazette: “I feel disappointed that we need this in 2020.”
She said that the situation in the UK is “not so far from the States in terms of our conduct, our behaviour”, and that there has not been much improvement since the killing of Stephen Lawrence in 1993.
She added: “We’ve had evidence that Black and Asian people have been stopped disproportionately during the Covid crisis. We obviously got the issue with the BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) community - the fact that they have been identified that they are being disproportionately affected [by the virus].”
She was critical of a report by Public Health England published this week which offered no recommendations for how to protect frontline workers from BAME communities.
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“Society still has different prejudices about Black and Asian men - if you’ve got a beard and you’re Asian then ‘you’re a terrorist’, if you’re a black male ‘you’re a mugger’,” she said. “Those ideas and sentiments need to be eradicated and that really starts with our Department for Education.”
She said colonialism and Windrush need to be taught in schools, adding: “Three million Muslim Asians and Hindu Asians participated in the Second World War. Hardly any white person knows that.”
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Another protester said the things that need changing in the UK are “top to bottom” and that recent events have shown that things can be achieved where there is the political will.
“We need more housing, we need housing that people can afford - we need more social housing,” she said. “Look at what happened when we were removing homeless people from the street [during the coronavirus outbreak]. Suddenly overnight they disappeared, where did they go? Oh, we found places for them. We found refuges for them.”