Racial justice activists urge supporters to protest peacefully

Racial justice activists have marched in the pouring rain through central London urging Black Lives Matter supporters to demonstrate peacefully.

Around 60 protesters wearing face coverings walked from Green Park to Trafalgar Square on Wednesday, partly to condemn the violence which erupted at some of the protests last week.

This comes ahead of planned racial justice demonstrations as well as counter-demonstrations by far-right group Football Lads Alliance this weekend.

Black Lives Matter
Protesters in Green Park in London (Yui Mok/PA)

Imarn Ayton, 29, from the group Justice For Black Lives, said the fact supporters had turned up despite the weather showed their “genuine commitment” to the cause.

She said: “I am not here for vandalism, I am not here to tear down statues, because that does not help black people.

“Don’t get me wrong, I want those statues down.

“But shouting at Boris Johnson outside Downing Street does not help black people.

“We are here for peace – black people are seen as violent, black people are seen as aggressive, and black people are seen as angry, so we are trying to stop that stigma.”

Justice for Black Lives protester Imarn Ayton, 29, urging supporters to protest peacefully in Trafalgar Square, central London on Wednesday.
Justice for Black Lives activist Imarn Ayton urged supporters to protest peacefully in Trafalgar Square (Laura Parnaby/PA)

Ms Ayton, who described herself as a “full-time activist,” added that the movement should be about “more than social media”.

She said: “It isn’t to do with your black box on Instagram, it’s about saying this movement isn’t going away.”

Another protester, Elen Ekpaloba, 23, said the tearing down of Edward Colston’s statue in Bristol “was power to the people”, but urged followers to pursue a more peaceful direction to enable “the start of a revolution”.

Miss Ekpaloba, a digital skills student at Big Creative Education (BCE) college in London, said: “My people, my community that I love so much, no more do we have to risk our lives, no more do we have to worry about our black brothers on the streets, because guess what, this change is coming.

“That’s why they (Football Lads Alliance) are coming out on Saturday, why they want to fearmonger, and make us feel inferior.

“This is the start of a revolution, this is the start of people finally coming together and saying ‘No more’.”

Protesters said they would be staging another demonstration in Hyde Park, central London, on Friday, and were drafting a list of demands for the Government.

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