Dozens attend protest vigil after town rallies against racist assault
PUBLISHED: 18:15 29 June 2020 | UPDATED: 20:12 29 June 2020
Dozens of anti-racism supporters ‘took the knee’ in Great Yarmouth to oppose the racially aggravated assault of a man in his 50s.
Around 30 people from across Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft attended the socially-distanced vigil held in St George’s Park on Monday, June 29, in solidarity with the victim.
On June 22, a man was approached by a four-strong group of men who made racist remarks and began pushing him. Fortunately he was not injured, but police are continuing to investigate and are seeking information and witnesses.
At today’s protest, speakers shared their own experiences of prejudice and racism.
One woman spoke of how she was confronted with groups shouting racist terms as she passed a shop in Great Yarmouth, while another lamented at the “hate-filled hearts” of those perpetrating the abuse.
Speakers also told that the “climate of racism” has been encouraged by “irresponsible comments from government ministers and an official ‘hostile environment’ policy towards immigrants”.
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A statement was then read out by Kevin Reynolds, Secretary of Unite the Union Great Yarmouth and district branch. He said: “Unite stands shoulder to shoulder with anti-racist activists in Great Yarmouth today.
“The brutal racist attack that occurred last week in the town is abhorrent to our community. People should be free to go about their business without fear of racist attack or intimidation as they walk the streets.
“As a union, Unite will do whatever it takes to remove the scourge of racism wherever it raises it’s ugly head.”
In remembrance of George Floyd, the African-American man who was killed by a Minneapolis policeman, participants then ‘took the knee’.
Secretary of Stand up to Racism’s local branch and protest organiser, Kevin Wingfield, said: “It is important that we organise to both show that the racists represent a small minority of the community here, but also to give support to those who have suffered racist insults and worse that they are not on their own.
“We need to turn the tide away from racism and for that we need all those who agree to join us in Stand Up to Racism to make our campaigning stronger.”
Mr Wingfield said that a large number of protesters in attendance left their details with him and were “keen to get involved” with the Stand up to Racism campaign.
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