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Campaigner speaks out against ‘unlawful discrimination’ ahead of Black Lives Matter protest

PUBLISHED: 17:06 03 June 2020 | UPDATED: 11:59 05 June 2020

People participated in a Black Lives Matter protest rally in Hyde Park, London, in memory of George Floyd who was killed on May 25 while in police custody in the US city of Minneapolis. A Black Lives Matter protest will take place in Ipswich on Saturday from 2pm at Christchurch Park. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

People participated in a Black Lives Matter protest rally in Hyde Park, London, in memory of George Floyd who was killed on May 25 while in police custody in the US city of Minneapolis. A Black Lives Matter protest will take place in Ipswich on Saturday from 2pm at Christchurch Park. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

A race equality campaigner has spoken out against “unlawful discrimination” ahead of a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in Ipswich.

People participate in a Black Lives Matter protest rally in Hyde Park, London, in memory of George Floyd who was killed on May 25 while in police custody in the US city of Minneapolis. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA WirePeople participate in a Black Lives Matter protest rally in Hyde Park, London, in memory of George Floyd who was killed on May 25 while in police custody in the US city of Minneapolis. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

The global conversation on race equality was propelled to the headlines in May after the death of an unarmed black man in America.

George Floyd died in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Monday, May 25 after a police officer knelt on the back of his neck during an attempted arrest.

A disturbing video, which was published on social media, showed three white officers detaining Mr Floyd for eight minutes, while he called for help - saying: “I can’t breathe.”

The incident has sparked demonstrations in cities across the United States, with some turning violent as law enforcement clashed with protesters.

Peaceful protests have now been seen in towns and cities across the UK and on Saturday, between 2pm and 6pm, protesters will gather outside Ipswich Town Hall and Corn Exchange.

One of Suffolk’s leading race equality campaigners, Phanuel Mutumburi, business and operations director of Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality (ISCRE), has spoken out in support of the protest.

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He said: “Everyone at ISCRE was appalled at the events in the video that showed the slow and painful death of George Floyd.

“We are also aware that such assaults by police officers against people of African and African-American heritage are regular occurrences and we send our support and solidarity to those millions upon millions of all backgrounds in the USA who are peacefully mobilising as a result of Mr Floyd and others’ deaths to address their society’s intolerance and racism.

“But we must not be complacent in this country or, indeed, in this county either.

“Campaigning against discrimination was the very reason that ISCRE was formed by concerned local citizens in 1977.

“Four decades on, although considerable progress has been made in many areas, many issues remain unresolved. Whether it is the disproportionate rates of persistent poverty, deaths in police custody, lower than average incomes or the sometimes questionable use of stop and search powers, there is much that is wrong here as well.

“ISCRE and our sister organisation, the Suffolk Law Centre, will continue to work with other partners to eradicate unlawful discrimination in all its forms and to actively promote an accepting and tolerant society for all.”

Former mayor of Ipswich Glen Chisholm has also spoken up about the importance of the equality movement after experiencing racism and prejudice growing up in Ipswich.

He wrote in an article for this newspaper: “While we may not be able to change what’s happening in America, we can change what’s happening in our own backyard.

“We can listen and try to understand each other and try to work together to stop the spread of hate and prejudice.”


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