Black Lives Matter: Protesters urged 'don't be afraid to speak your truth'

Thousands of people took part in a Black Lives Matter protest in Birmingham this afternoon following the death of George Floyd.

It's estimated around 4,000 people attended the demonstration, with groups initially meeting in Centenary Square at 4pm before moving on.

Organisers say the event was 'peaceful and safe', and this evening West Midlands Police confirmed that no one was arrested. In a statement they said they appreciate the gathering was 'much larger than is allowed' [under coronavirus regulations], but they put a 'proportionate' plan in place.

The demonstration lasted for four hours and included music, speeches, poetry and chanting.

Originally people were told to gather at Victoria Square but, due to a growing amount of interest on social media, the council relocated the group to a bigger space outside Birmingham library.

The group have been told to move from Victoria Square to Credit: Birmingham For Black Lives Matter Facebook

The group, UK Isn't Innocent, insisted that people kept 3 metres apart at all times. They were also encouraged to arrive after the start time to stagger the number of people who were protesting at the same time.

Organisers say they did not have time to raise enough money to provide masks for everybody who was attending, so people were also encouraged to wear masks, scarves or bandanas.

George Floyd died after a white police officer knelt down on his neck for nine minutes.

The death of the 46-year-old African-American man has sparked demonstrations in the USA (where it happened) and around the world.

Aston Villa's Tyrone Mings announced on Twitter that he would be one of those taking part in the Birmingham protest, he told people "don't be afraid to speak your truth".

Credit: BPM Media

At least two thousand "noisy and passionate" people took part in the demonstration outside of Birmingham Library to show their support for the movement.

Demonstrators "took the knee" to show solidarity.

This was a gesture first used by American Football player Colin Kaepernick in 2016 in an attempt to spark debate about systemic oppression and police brutality.

Credit: BPM Media

The group was described as "noisy but peaceful" as they moved to the police HQ to demonstrate before heading into the city centre.

Credit: BPM Media
  • Charlotte Cross was there:

ITV Central's Alison Mackenzie spoke to Labour leader Keir Starmer about the movement.

He told her that the outpouring of emotion demonstrates that discrimination and injustice is an issue in the UK.

He said this needs to be a turning point and everybody needs to respond.

He added "black lives matter and they matter for everyone".

This weekend marches and protests will also take place in other cities including Nottingham and Leicester.