Leeds & West Yorkshire

Thousands rally in Leeds to support Black Lives Matter protest

Protesters on the ground bent on one knee
Image caption Hundreds of protesters in Millennium Square bent down on one knee in support of Black Lives Matter

More than 1,000 people gathered in Leeds to protest in support of Black Lives Matter.

Many wore face masks as they held placards and banners while assembling in Millennium Square.

The protest, which was organised jointly by Black Lives Matter and Black Voices Matter, began at 14:30 BST to "voice our pain, not damage property".

Police vans lined surrounding streets as another 200 or so protesters stood around the city's war memorial.

Image caption The event was organised by Black Voices Matter

Dionne Edwards, from Black Voices Matter, said: "Our rally is a peaceful protest.

"We do not condone damage to public or private property. We simply want to raise a call for our voices of pain to be heard - and to be heard loudly.

"We will no longer be silenced from fear."

Image caption Glenn Skeete (left) hopes his son "will feel free to walk the streets and be in employment without being looked at and think he's second class"

Glenn Skeete attended the protest with his wife Sarah and young son Zion. He said he hoped the movement would make a positive change.

"Hopefully for [my son], by the time he's my age he will feel free to walk the streets and be in employment without being looked at and think he's second class," he said.

"That's the main thing. It's the spirit that you need to conquer first and foremost to make sure that they feel confident that whatever they do they don't feel second rate to anyone else."

Image caption Lakeisha and Daniel want to have a family and bring up their children in an "equal society for all"
Image caption Protesters, many of whom wore face masks, were reminded to observe social distancing

Protesters Lakeisha and her partner Daniel said they wanted an improvement in the education system for slavery to be taught extensively in schools.

"We're an interracial couple and we plan to have a family at some point, and we want to be part of the fight to make it an equal society for all.

"We've had different experiences growing up and coming together - he's leant a lot and I've learnt a lot - and if anything, it's pushed us even more towards realising just how deep rooted racism is and oppression is.

"And it's such a shame that today, in 2020, we're in a position where our laws and rules aren't actually what's happening in modern practice, so that's why we're here."

Image caption Crowds were told to "talk to the person next to you - we are one human race"
Image caption Organisers said it was a "peaceful protest"

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