By Oliver Hodgson
Hundreds gathered in Carlisle for the city’s Black Lives Matter protest, yesterday – at the same time as thousands attended similar demonstrations in cities across the UK.
The demonstrations follow the death of George Floyd – a black man, who was killed by a white police officer in the US.
Unarmed Floyd died after the officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes in Minneapolis, on May 25.
The BLM demonstration in Carlisle took place on June 6, during which hundreds chanted In can’t breathe’ – some of the last words Floyd spoke – while kneeling for over eight minutes in tribute to Floyd.
Many demonstrators gave speeches speaking of the racism they’ve encountered in Cumbria.
One woman stepped up to the microphone, voicing her opinions of the phrase ‘All Lives Matter’ which has subsequently emerged since the BLM movement came to prominence in the last week, but caused controversy.
The woman’s views were met with disagreement from the majority gathered – she was allowed to finish her speech, by organisers who said they did not endorse her message, but was met with chants of ‘get off the stage’ and ‘black lives matter’.
The protests and demonstrations were met with criticism from some members of the public, due to the COVID-19 crisis and fears of spreading the virus.
Organisers of the event had placed chalk on the floor and actively encouraged social distancing, also extra masks were brought for those who did not have one.
In Carlisle the protest was considered peaceful, which was promised by organisers, after other demonstrations around the country made it into the media as in some places protestors clashed with police.
Recently UK police leaders came together to release a statement saying they stand by all those appalled by the death of George Floyd.
They said: “We stand alongside all those across the globe who are appalled and horrified by the way George Floyd lost his life. Justice and accountability should follow.”
However, though British police do stand by those appalled by the death of Floyd they remind the public of the dangers Coronavirus still poses and urge people to stick to guidelines.
You can read their full statement here.