Essex

Hundreds attend Black Lives Matter protest in Chelmsford

Chelmsford protest
Image caption Protestors gathered at Central Park in Chelmsford before marching to Oaklands Park

Hundreds of people have attended a Black Lives Matter protest in Chelmsford.

Speakers addressed crowds in Central Park before a march bound for Oaklands Park set off at about 14:00 BST.

Those at the protest said people were "respecting space" and had face masks.

Dean, 35, from Ilford, said he decided to attend the protest to make a stand against "the brutality and segregation" black people face.

"It needs to stop and it's about time something was done about it," he said.

Image caption Anisha and Dean said they wanted to do what they could to "support the cause"

Milan Homan, 18, from Brentwood, said she felt "morally obliged" to join the protest as she and her family are mixed race.

"It's very important to me," she said.

Image caption The atmosphere was said to be "calm" at the protest

Malaika Gangooly, 19, one of three protest organisers, said they wanted to host a local event for people who felt travelling to London was a risk due to coronavirus.

"We thought it would be an amazing way to get all communities together to fight for justice and equality," she said.

"I grew up in a little seaside town and there I did get quite a few racist comments.

"I think it's important to everyone that we make it seen that this isn't only happening in America, it's happening all over the world and it's happening in your neighbourhood."

Protests in England

Image caption A poet and a reverend were among those giving speeches at the event

A spokeswoman for Essex Police said: "We respect the right of those who wish to hold a peaceful protest and our priority is public safety and reassurance.

"Our officers were in attendance to provide reassurance and ensure everyone's safety."

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