Black Lives Matter: Brighton protest attended by thousands

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Brighton Black Lives Matter protestImage source, eddie mitchell
Image caption,
Thousands of people gathered at the seafront initially

Thousands of protesters have marched through Brighton in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement worldwide.

Forming a mile-long line along the seafront, activists holding signs staged a silent protest on Saturday afternoon.

Then, after a few minutes of applause, the protesters marched into the city.

Tensions rose briefly as they passed a police divide separating them from a small group of counter-protesters occupying the stone monument.

Image source, eddie mitchell
Image caption,
Two groups were separated by police with riot vans at the war memorial

Shouts of "Say his name, George Floyd" were met at least once with "Rule Britannia" from behind the police line.

Officers maintained a divide between the anti-racism activists and the group assembled at the war memorial.

Police at the scene told the Press Association news agency the gap between the two groups was being maintained to allow both to "have their say".

At least 35 police officers surrounded the monument in Old Steine Gardens for several hours.

Image source, eddie mitchell
Image caption,
People of all ages, including families with children, joined the protest

The peaceful protest continued elsewhere, with people gathering quietly at The Level - a park in the centre of the city.

Activists initially observed social distancing as they stood in memory of George Floyd, who died while being restrained by police in the US last month.

However, as the march through the city commenced, members of the crowd moved closer together.

Image source, eddie mitchell
Image caption,
Social distancing was adhered to at the start, but quickly stopped as the number of people in Brighton's streets grew

Activists carried signs bearing slogans including "Racism is a pandemic too", "No justice, no peace", and "Black Lives Matter".

Sussex Police has yet to confirm an official attendance figure, though estimates say as many as 10,000 people attended, or if any arrests have been made.

Protests in England