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Protestors stay out until 4am to stop signs being taken off building

PUBLISHED: 16:50 17 June 2020 | UPDATED: 16:50 17 June 2020

Campaigners in Woodbridge have stayed out until the early hours to protect their peaceful protest Picture: Harry Raithatha/ Naomi Keeble

Campaigners in Woodbridge have stayed out until the early hours to protect their peaceful protest Picture: Harry Raithatha/ Naomi Keeble

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Black Lives Matters protestors in Woodbridge have stayed out until the early hours of the morning to prevent their signs being taken down.

The Shire Hall at night with the signs made by protestors Picture: Harry RaithathaThe Shire Hall at night with the signs made by protestors Picture: Harry Raithatha

Protestors confirmed that on Monday night their signs were removed from the Shire Hall for a second time in three days.

A Norse street cleaning operative was suspended over the weekend following an exchange with a protestor after the posters were removed over fly posting concerns.

Since then the campaigners have been working with Woodbridge Town Council to continue their protest.

“Off the back of that I wrote an email to the Mayor and got permission for the signs to go up,” said campaigner Naomi Keeble.

“We got permission, we respected the building, we did everything.”

On Monday night, however, all the signs were taken down once again, this time by an unknown person.

“On Tuesday morning the town clerk said they were really sorry that this had happened,” said Miss Keeble.

“They offered to put things in the window.”

Concerned that the posters would be taken down again one of the group, Harry Raithatha, stayed out until 4am to catch whoever was taking the posters.

“I was expecting to stay on my own but there were two other guys,” said Mr Raithatha.

“I think the fact there were people there who are not so involved in the campaign there shows that people don’t want them taken down.”

As well as having their posters taken down the campaigners have been sworn at and aggressively yelled at by members of the public who said they were offended.

One woman said the “conversation has been going on since the 1930s and things won’t change”, Miss Keeble said.

“It’s been very disappointing, it’s showing why it’s important to keep it going,” said Miss Keeble.

Miss Keeble said that fortunately other people in the town had been more supportive.

“There has been big local support and we need to acknowledge that,” said Miss Keeble.

Woodbridge Mayor, Sue Bale, said she was disappointed by what had happened to the protestors in the past few days.

“I think it is very sad really,” said Ms Bale.

Ms Bale said she had spoken with Miss Keeble and her colleagues and had given the permission for the signs on the basis that they were not to be hung on the building itself, as it is old and fragile, which the protestors agreed to.

All the posters have since been rehung and are only attached to the railings.

Now Ms Bale is looking to work with Miss Keeble and her fellow campaigners to see what the council can do to help them.

“I have invited Naomi to the Town Council meeting on the June 23 to ask what she would like for the Town Council to do to support the movement,” said Ms Bale.

Ms Bale said that discussions would also be had over when signs should be put up on the Shire Hall in the future.

The campaigners will be holding a socially distanced event in Elmhurst Park from 12pm on Saturday.

MORE: Worker suspended after gesture at campaigner caught on camera


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