Thousands join Black Lives Matter protest in Brighton

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Thousands of protesters marched through Brighton on Saturday 11 July in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Demonstrators gathered by the city’s famous Palace Pier at midday before moving off through the streets. Many were wearing black and holding up signs calling out systemic racism.

Many demonstrators wore face masks and had placards with slogans including “Decolonise everything” and “Defund the police”. They set off along the seafront shouting “Black lives matter every day” and “UK is not innocent”.

Black Lives Matter protest
The protesters gathered at the Palace Pier before marching through the city’s streets (Aaron Chown/PA)

“We have nothing to lose – too many have already lost too much”

As protesters passed the Brighton war memorial, they were being serenaded by a string quartet. The musical tribute is in stark contrast to the protest last month which saw a small group occupy the stone monument amid a heavy police presence.

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Black Lives Matter protest
Many of the protesters marched with placards (Aaron Chown/PA)

Gathering in their thousands at The Level, the protesters shouted out in unison:

It is our duty to do this every day.

It is our duty to fight for racial justice.

It is our duty to win. We are stronger together.

We are here with love, peace and solidarity.

We have nothing to lose – too many have already lost too much.”

Sussex Police

The latest protest comes days after a video showing a man shouting “I can’t breathe” while being restrained on the ground by three Brighton police officers.

Sussex Police said the man was arrested and became aggressive towards officers before being placed on the ground. The incident has been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

Black Lives Matter protest
It comes days after an incident in the city in which a man being restrained by police was filmed shouting ‘I can’t breathe’ (Aaron Chown/PA)

One protester speaking to the crowds on a megaphone addressed the video. She said:

Sussex Police has recently been filmed using excessive force on a young black man.


Anti-racist city

Last month, more than 10,000 protesters marched through the East Sussex city in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement worldwide. There have been calls for the popular seafront resort to become an officially anti-racist city.

Carmen Appich, chair of the council’s tourism, equality, communities and culture committee, said:

In the wake of the sickening killing of George Floyd (in the US) the global calls for change and the impact of Covid-19 on Black and ethnic minority people, we made a public pledge to become an anti-racist council.

We acknowledge that it is not enough to be non-racist and we must actively use our privilege, position as community leaders and platforms to challenge structural racism and injustice within the council and in the city.

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