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Black Lives Matter: More than 100 people gather for peaceful protest at Jacksons Field, Rochester

More than 100 protestors gathered in a park to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter protests taking place around the world.

Many people wore gloves and masks at the socially distanced event held at Jacksons Field, Rochester.

Mike Bousquet led the demonstration Photo: Yousef Al Nasser
Mike Bousquet led the demonstration Photo: Yousef Al Nasser
A Black Lives Matter Protest took place at Jackson Fields, Rochester Photo: Yousef Al Nasser
A Black Lives Matter Protest took place at Jackson Fields, Rochester Photo: Yousef Al Nasser

Demonstrations have taken place around the world this week in response to the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, America, on May 25.

The protest in Medway was organised by local Chatham resident Mikey Ragga Bousquet who contacted friend Steve Wilkins, the secretary of Medway Stand Up To Racism to organise the protest with the help of the Medway Trade Union Council.

They had originally expected around 20 people but were stunned to see more than 100 join them on the hillside.

Two police community support officers also attended the scene of the peaceful protest which lasted around an hour and saw people listen to speakers and engage in chants of George Floyd's name.

Towards the end there was a spontaneous bout of singing with a quick rendition of "We Shall Overcome" and Bob Marley's ‘One Love’.

Cllr Lola Oyewusi attended the demonstration Photo: Yousef Al Nasser
Cllr Lola Oyewusi attended the demonstration Photo: Yousef Al Nasser
Two police officers were in attendance Photo: Yousef Al Nasser
Two police officers were in attendance Photo: Yousef Al Nasser

Mikey praised the people of Medway who he said had "turned out in droves" and with less than 24 hours notice.

"I wasn't expecting this many people to turn out," he said. "To be honest with you I just invited a couple of family members and personal friends."

He went on to add: “I’m just blown away with the support from all these amazing people, standing together, but two meters apart, there were young kids and pensioners all hear for one thing. Fantastic.”

Athena Xavier attended with her three year-old daughter Theama-Rose Xavier-Emmerson to show solidarity with the movement.

Her grandfather was Asquith Xavier, a Dominican man who became a pioneer for racial equality after he fought a colour bar at British Railways in London to become the first black train guard in 1966.

A plaque commemorating his legacy was unveiled at Euston station where he worked in 2016 and his family continue to reside in Chatham.

Athena Xavier attended with her three year-old daughter Theama-Rose Xavier-Emmerson Photo: Katie Blench
Athena Xavier attended with her three year-old daughter Theama-Rose Xavier-Emmerson Photo: Katie Blench
A Black Lives Matter Protest took place at Jackson Fields, Rochester Photo: Yousef Al Nasser
A Black Lives Matter Protest took place at Jackson Fields, Rochester Photo: Yousef Al Nasser

Resident Clive Coward said: “The problem is that people don’t even recognise there is a problem and so it is really hard for them to understand that saying ‘black lives matter’ is not saying others don’t.

"But we need to understand black people are being treated differently every day and are disproportionately dying at the hands of the state.”

Another demonstration is being planned by Medway Stand Up To Racism for tomorrow morning in Chatham High Street.

It will start at 11.15am by the White Lion Pub at the Bingo hall end.

Read more: All the latest news from Medway

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