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Black Lives Matter set to hold peaceful protest in Felixstowe

PUBLISHED: 12:29 14 June 2020 | UPDATED: 14:00 16 June 2020

The Black Lives Matter protest in Christchurch Park Picture: IAN BURT

The Black Lives Matter protest in Christchurch Park Picture: IAN BURT

Ian Burt Photography

Preparations are under way for a Black Lives Matter protest in Felixstowe next weekend.

Felixstowe War Memorial Picture: PETER WILESFelixstowe War Memorial Picture: PETER WILES

Victoria Baker has organised the event on Saturday June 20 at 2pm with a group of 12 other women who have decided collectively to promote the Black Lives Matter movement in the town.

She said: “We felt it was something each of us felt so strongly about and that if we could make even the smallest difference it was better than staying quiet.

“We have reached out to our local black community and have had a very positive response, and have had many offers to speak on the day.”

The event will begin at the Spa gardens where a few words are planned before speeches begin, then a kneel in silence will take place for 8 minutes 46 seconds – the amount of time officer Derek Chauvin spent kneeling on George Floyd’s neck – in respect of his memory.

The march will head along the prom to a final position at the Martello park area.

Miss Baker said they will be respecting social distancing and have taken measures to ensure it is upheld, adding: “All organisers involved cannot emphasise enough that we want this event to be peaceful and respectful and have absolutely no intention of allowing any trouble to be caused.

“We will be monitoring social distancing, have masks and hand sanitiser available for those attending.

“We really hope that it will be a great turn out and result in a powerful yet respectful stand against racism.”

Police said they were aware of the plans for the demonstration on June 20 and were talking to organisers about the proposed route and activities.

Darren Aitchison, Felixstowe Royal British Legion branch chairman, said some veterans had voiced concern about the town’s seafront war memorial.

But he said: “I am trying to assure these veterans that they don’t need to protect the war memorial. I don’t feel there will be any issues around that.”

Insp Soraya Francis, from the South East Locality team, said: “I was at the protest in Ipswich last Saturday where there were thousands of people – it went down very well, it was quite emotive, quite powerful, and we had some positive feedback about how the police dealt with it. No arrests were made and there was absolutely no disorder at all.”

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