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‘Appalling’: Outrage as Black Lives Matter graffiti is painted over

PUBLISHED: 06:34 05 June 2020 | UPDATED: 11:23 05 June 2020

A graffiti mural in solidarity with Black Lives Matter following the death of George Floyd in the US has been painted over in the Pottergate underpass. PIC: Peter Walsh

A graffiti mural in solidarity with Black Lives Matter following the death of George Floyd in the US has been painted over in the Pottergate underpass. PIC: Peter Walsh

Archant

People are outraged after graffiti in solidarity with Black Lives Matter following the death of George Floyd was daubed over.

Graffiti in solidarity with Black Lives Matter in Norwich. Picture: KnappleGraffiti in solidarity with Black Lives Matter in Norwich. Picture: Knapple

The symbolic artwork on the Pottergate underpass read “Norwich against racism. Black Lives Matter. All cops are accountable.”

It was painted by well-known graffiti artist Knapple, who was left shocked and saddened after a white police officer killed Mr Floyd by pressing a knee into his neck.

But the graffiti has since been completely covered over in black paint days after being put up, prompting anger from people living in the city.

Duane Dibartolomeo, who runs nearby Grosvenor Fish Bar in the Norwich Lanes, said: “I just can’t imagine anyone being so racist to feel the need to do that.

Nowich City Hall has been lit up in purple in solidarity with George Floyd and Black Lives Matter. Picture: Ruth LawesNowich City Hall has been lit up in purple in solidarity with George Floyd and Black Lives Matter. Picture: Ruth Lawes

“I just don’t know what has to happen for someone to do something like that.

“It’s a shame what happened, a real shame.”

Mr Dibartolomeo, who is originally from Miami and latterly from New York City, said he was surprised it had happened as Norwich was a “really wonderful city”.

He said: “We’re not from Norwich but have always found people really welcoming here.”

People take part in a Black Lives Matter protest outside the US Embassy in London. The protest follows the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, US, this week which has seen a police officer charged with third-degree murder. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA WirePeople take part in a Black Lives Matter protest outside the US Embassy in London. The protest follows the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, US, this week which has seen a police officer charged with third-degree murder. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Meanwhile Norwich Pride, which celebrates the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT+) community, has also hit out.

In a post on Facebook, the group wrote: “We’re so appalled to see Ruth Knapp’s powerful #blacklivesmatter graffiti painted over, adding to the pile of acts that demonstrate why we have such a way to go on eradicating racism and hate. Norwich Pride will not stop using our platform to promote anti-racism, support our black community, and speak out for what we believe in. BLACK LIVES MATTER.”

A spokeswoman for Norwich City Council said: “Yesterday, a complaint was made about offensive graffiti in the city. It was made online and went straight through an automated system to our contractor who, unfortunately, took action to paint over the mural.

“This has been a terrible misunderstanding and we will urgently work with our contractor to correct it.

“We do not consider this in any way to be offensive graffiti, we consider it an important work of art. The city council lit up City Hall in purple on Thursday in solidarity with the Minneapolis community and in remembrance of George Floyd. We denounce racism in the strongest terms and stand in solidarity with members of the BAME community in Norwich, across the country and globally.

She added: “We would like to commission the artist to reinstate the artwork.”

After producing the work, Knapple said: “I wanted to show that we do see, we do care and we do stand with the black community in Norwich and across the world.”

Criminal charges were filed on Friday against white police officer Derek Chauvin, 44.

He has been charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter

On Tuesday (June 2) Norwich’s City Hall was lit up in purple as an act of solidarity with George Floyd.


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