THE organiser of the Black Lives Matter protest in Stroud today said she was ‘overwhelmed’ by the turn out.
Polly Stratton organised a peaceful protest outside the Sub Rooms this afternoon in solidarity with protests in the US.
“About 100 people showed up,” she said.
“Everybody socially distanced, there were chalk marks on the floor, dividing the Sub Rooms’ forecourt up into socially distanced spaces for people.
“And five people gave impassioned speeches.
“There were some incredibly powerful stories shared from locals about their experiences of racism growing up in Stroud.
“It wasn’t arranged, they just asked if they could speak.”
Today’s protest follows a gathering Polly arranged yesterday, also outside the Sub Rooms
“Yesterday eight people came along, so this was quite a bit different,” she said.
“It was quite a serious rally in the end.”
The protests are part of a campaign against police brutality and in support of the fight for racial equality and justice.
Protests started after George Floyd, an African-American in the US, was killed after Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin held his knee to Mr Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds.
This was despite Mr Floyd’s pleas for his life and repeatedly saying ‘I can’t breathe’.
In Stroud this afternoon, protestors kneeled, in silence, for eight minutes and 45 seconds.
The same length of time that Officer Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck, killing him.
“There was a lot of emotion,” said Polly.
“I’m actually pretty overwhelmed,” she added.
Further protests are planned outside the Sub Rooms tomorrow at 1pm, and in Stroud on Saturday, the details of which are to be confirmed.
Everyone is welcome to attend, but anyone joining in is asked to observe social distancing measures and to wear a mask.
Minneapolis police officer, Chauvin has been charged with murder in the third degree but has not yet been prosecuted.
Mr Floyd’s is one of many cases which have spurred the Black Lives Matter movement.