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Hundreds attend Black Lives Matter protests in Woodbridge and Felixstowe

PUBLISHED: 18:08 20 June 2020 | UPDATED: 22:09 20 June 2020

Signs are held up at the peaceful Woodbridge Black Lives Matter demonstration. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Signs are held up at the peaceful Woodbridge Black Lives Matter demonstration. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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Black Lives Matter protestors gathered in Woodbridge and Felixstowe to hold peaceful protests.

The crowd at the Black Lives Matter protest in Felixstowe. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe crowd at the Black Lives Matter protest in Felixstowe. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The first event was held in Woodbridge at Elmhurst Park on Saturday.

Hundreds of people gathered to protest peacefully and watch speakers talk about important issues related to the movement.

The crowds then walked up Market Hill with their posters.

“We must have had 300-400 people,” said Naomi Keeble, one of the organisers of the event.

Carina Sewell and her son, organiser Harry Raithatha, at the peaceful Woodbridge Black Lives Matter demonstration. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYCarina Sewell and her son, organiser Harry Raithatha, at the peaceful Woodbridge Black Lives Matter demonstration. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“From where we started on this, it’s amazing.

“It was just incredible to see people show up for Woodbridge and this cause in this way.”

Audience members were also given the opportunity to speak at the event.

“We offered the audience the mic,” said Ms Keeble.

The Black Lives Matter protest march in Felixstowe. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe Black Lives Matter protest march in Felixstowe. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“We has several people; young, old, black, white, who had no intention of speaking at the start but had felt moved and obligated to speak.

“It was just incredible.”

Going forward Ms Keeble and her colleagues will be speaking at the town council meeting in Woodbridge this week to look at what more they can do to help their cause.

One of those speaking at the event was Hannah Daly, who represented local bookshop the Woodbridge Emporium, who had experienced some resistance to a display featuring anti-racist books in the shop’s window.

Signs are held up at the peaceful Woodbridge Black Lives Matter demonstration. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYSigns are held up at the peaceful Woodbridge Black Lives Matter demonstration. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“We have been victims of abuse,” said Ms Daly.

“We understand our privilege and we will use it to amplify your voices and raise you up.”

The shops plans to continue displaying the books.

A second event was held in the Spa Gardens in Felixstowe later on in the day.

Police keep an eye on the Black Lives Matter protest in Felixstowe. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPolice keep an eye on the Black Lives Matter protest in Felixstowe. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Speeches were also heard at the Felixstowe event before a kneel in silence took place for 8 minutes 46 seconds – the amount of time officer Derek Chauvin spent kneeling on George Floyd’s neck – in respect of Mr Floyd’s memory.

The march then headed along the prom to a final position at the Martello park area where a further open mic session was held for people to speak.

Organiser Victoria Baker said she was very pleased with the turn out.

“I think there was over 200 or 300 people,” said Miss Baker.

The Black Lives Matter flag flies at the peaceful Woodbridge demonstration. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY. The Black Lives Matter flag flies at the peaceful Woodbridge demonstration. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY.

“We had some amazing speeches at the start; they were very powerful and educational.

“I don’t think we could have ever anticipated how many people would turn up.”

Miss Baker said the campaigners would now reflect on Saturday’s events before considering what they can do next.

Carina Sewell, mum of organiser Harry Raithatha, speaks at the peaceful Woodbridge Black Lives Matter demonstration. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYCarina Sewell, mum of organiser Harry Raithatha, speaks at the peaceful Woodbridge Black Lives Matter demonstration. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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