Large crowds in Cardiff for Black Lives Matter Protest

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Around 2,000 people joined in a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Cardiff on Saturday over the death of American George Floyd.

Protesters filed into Bute Park in the Welsh capital’s city centre holding placards to hear from speakers addressing injustices black people face across the world.

Crowds generally kept to two-metre social distancing and many wore face coverings and gloves, while only a small police presence watched over the peaceful protest.

Tensions only appeared when a local councillor, Ali Ahmed, was forced off a podium by angry organisers and booed by the crowd after declaring “All lives matter”, a slogan seen to many as a criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Black Lives Matter protests
People take the knee during in a Black Lives Matter protest rally in Bute Park, Cardiff (Ben Birchall/PA)

He told the PA news agency: “I was going to say about some of the other people who have been brutally killed.

“I was there to protest against all types of racism, and the killing of innocent human beings, especially those black lives. We want to see an end to this.”

Other demonstrations were held in Bangor and Caerphilly, while one in Newport is scheduled for Thursday.

Andrew Ogun, 22, who took to the podium to speak about racial inequality in South Wales, said Mr Floyd’s death after being detained by police in Minneapolis had “struck a match” for people in Wales.

He told the PA news agency: “A lot of people are here today and it’s amazing to see.

“This killing struck a match for everybody. Not just black people. People are frustrated, people are tired, people want to get their voices heard.

“We can’t be disingenuous and say police brutality is as bad here as the USA. But regardless, the implicit bias against black people needs to change.

“Because I’m 10 times more likely to be stopped by police. I’ve been stopped for no valid reason when I’m doing good things, doing artistic things, because of how I looked.”

He added: “The main thing that needs to be pushed is a change in curriculum. We need to have a very clear awareness of the role that the UK played in black history, and the role black people played in UK history, which has been completely undermined with it hiding away from its colonial past.

Fellow speaker Gabin Kongolo, said: “It fills my heart with joy to know so many people actually care to come down. We know there’s a virus going on, but there’s a bigger virus which is racism.

“We don’t want to be killed in the street, cold blooded, just because of the way we were born. We want better for our people, and equal rights, equal opportunities.”

A smaller group of a hundred or so protesters later marched to Cardiff Bay and gathered outside the Senedd building, home to the Welsh Parliament, to chants of “no justice, no peace” – while a handful chanted “shame on you” towards police officers.

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