Black Lives Matter protest in Jubilee Square

A PEACEFUL protest supporting the Black Lives Matter movement filled out Jubilee Square on Sunday at 2pm.

Hundreds filled out Jubilee Square in a peaceful protest in support of Black Lives Matter on Sunday

The Woking rally included kneeling in silence for eight minutes and 46 seconds in remembrance of George Floyd, the man killed in police custody in Minnesota, as well as applause for his life and those of others lost to hate crimes and discrimination.

Djordje Jovanovic, organiser of the Woking protest

Mr Floyd’s death on May 25, after officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck despite him pleading he could not breathe, has sparked outrage and days of protest in America. It has seen demonstrations in this country as people show solidarity with the black community, calling for an end to racism and racial injustice.

“Thank you for coming out and rallying together peacefully,” said Djordje Jovanovic, organiser of the local event. “I’m proud to be part of Woking.”

The Jubilee Square protest was held to coincide with one in London outside the US Embassy on 7 June, for people who did not want to travel to the city due to the pandemic. Local protestors were asked to wear masks and gloves if possible, and maintain social distancing.

Two protesters hold up placards

“A beautiful, humbling and moving tribute,” said Grace Palmer after attending the event. “We applauded the Black Lives Matter movement, the organisers of today’s peaceful ceremony and also one another as we stood shoulder to shoulder – though two metres apart – and quietly promised that we would see this global fight through to the end.”

Others who could not attend in person sent messages of support and posted pictures of themselves holding placards on the event’s Facebook page.

“What we will do is protest with you but from our street,” said Linda Sierra-Parkes, unable to attend as her family are supporting people who are shielding from the coronavirus. “We do stand with you. Just a half a mile away.”

Protesters take a knee for eight minutes and 46 seconds in honour of George Floyd

“Officers were present at the peaceful protest in Woking with no incidents or reports made to us,” said Superintendent Juliet Parker of Surrey Police. “We fully support the right to protest peacefully but, during the current pandemic, this right has to be balanced with the new public health regulations.

“We have continued our policing approach of engaging, explaining and encouraging people to follow the health guidance. As always, our over-riding aim is to protect and keep people safe across Surrey.”

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