This is what happened at Harrogate's Black Lives Matter protest yesterday on the Stray

Banners, face masks and speeches were the order of the day at Harrogate's latest Black Lives Matter demonstration held on a hot and humid Saturday afternoon.

Sunday, 21st June 2020, 1:19 pm
The guest speakers at yesterday's Black Lives Matter demonstration in Harrogate at Montpellier Hill.

Taking place yesterday on the Stray at Montpellier Hill, organiser Josephine Caven said she thought the protest had been successful and peaceful.

She said: "The event went amazing well and more people turned up after the rain stopped.

"I feel that the objectives of being heard, healed a little and others to be educated was met.

"The solidarity shown by Harrogate was amazing. The turnout was double the number at the recent Black Lives Matter vigil in Harrogate.

"Everyone that spoke is committed to doing more things in Harrogate."

In advance of the demo inspired by the worldwide protests following the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man at the hands of the police in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25, organisers had said the Harrogate demo would be following all the social distancing rules, would be peaceful and that the police have been notified.

The demo was watched over at distance by a police presence.

The town centre also saw at the same time around ten to 15 individuals forming a protective guard round Harrogate's main war memorial on the junction of Parliament Street and Cambridge Road.

They said they were there in case "anyone tried anything against the monument."

There are no official figures for the turnout for yesterday's Black Lives Matter demonstration but estimates range from 250 people to what organisers say was up to 400 people.

One of the speakers at the event told the assembled protesters of all ages and backgrounds: "I’m hopeful because we are here today m we are talking about the root causes of racism.

"We are highlighting that white privilege exists, that our systems support this and delivers inequalities and racism.

"We can change this, we can change our systems. Individually we can take responsibility for educating ourselves, engaging with the black and ethnic minority community members, listening to their experiences and working together to proactively make change.

"We can take responsibility and action as a community."

Another speaker said: "We all have a duty to educate ourselves and understand how great human suffering and exploitation of black, brown and other minorities paved the way for where we are today.

"Educate yourselves on the factors that enabled the industrial revolution, that made Britain the warehouse of the world."

And another said: "Yes racism can be a touchy subject to talk about and yes it can get messy, but enough is enough we can’t stay silent anymore.

"How many more people need to be killed? How many more people need to be hurt ? How many more families need to cry?

"How long will I be treated as guilty because my skin is dark? 2020 is the year we say goodbye to racism; it has no place in our society."

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