Protesters in Stratford ‘take the knee’ to demand justice for George Floyd in show of support
- Credit: Archant
A protest demanding justice for George Floyd saw up to 70 people “take the knee” outside the town hall.
It was part of a nationwide Day of Action called by campaign group Stand Up To Racism with members of the borough’s branch joined by supporters outside Old Town Hall, Stratford on June 3.
Lois Browne from Newham Stand Up To Racism, said: “This week has seen another shocking example of the toll, over centuries, on our black lives.
“Black people have been disproportionately dying during this pandemic and our people continue to be brutally murdered in the US, the UK and around the world.
“We must be active and challenge this racist system. Silence is no longer an option. In the words of Angela Davis, ‘In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist. We must be anti-racist’.”
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During the protest, people were called upon to drop to one knee, which symbolises opposition to police brutality and racism. Those who couldn’t make it, including those self-isolating, took the knee on their doorsteps.
The socially distanced event was also in support of the Black Lives Matter movement as well as a call for justice for Mr Floyd who died in police custody in the US on May 25.
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Speakers drew attention to racism and institutional discrimination in Britain and the disproportionate number of deaths in the black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities.
Steve Hedley, of Newham Trades Council, told the protest the pressures faced by working class people in Newham was linked to the struggle against racism.
Shantu Ferdus, who chairs Plaistow South Labour Party, told protesters Covid-19 BAME deaths were vastly disproportionate yet still the UK government refuses to support an independent inquiry.
Rob Ferguson, convenor of Newham Stand Up To Racism, said afterwards: “The protests taking place across the world, including the UK, are in response to the horrific killing of George Floyd but also to the experience of deep institutional racism.
“The call for an independent inquiry into the causes of the disproportionate Covid-19 BAME deaths addresses that structural discrimination.”
Protesters held Stand Up to Racism placards.