Police officers have thanked campaigners who turned out at a Stoke-on-Trent park in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Hundreds of protesters turned up at Hanley Park to campaign against global racism following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota last month.
Mr Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died after an arrested police officer pressed a knee against his neck. Four ex-cops have now been charged afted the incident.
In the wake of Mr Floyd’s death mass protests have been started across the globe with a mass police presence needed in Minneapolis.
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But Staffordshire Police tonight paid tribute to the hundreds who gathered for a peaceful protest in Hanley Park this afternoon.
Assistant chief constable Simon Tweats said: “Hundreds of people attended the Black Lives Matter protest in Hanley Park this afternoon (June 4).
“We want to thank those who attended for expressing their views in a peaceful manner.
“Our neighbourhood policing team were in attendance and reminded those present of social distancing guidelines, which were observed by the majority.
“As we work together to prevent the spread of Covid-19 we would prefer it if gatherings did not take place, but we respect the right of others to peacefully protest.
With further protests planned across the county we urge people to keep in mind the virus is still a major threat and we all have a role and civic duty in protecting the NHS and saving lives – everyone is at risk from this virus including our family and friends.
“Crowds dispersed at around 6.30pm.”
Starting from 4pm, the protest saw organisers playing tracks with racism at the focus, such as ‘Where is the love’ by The Black Eyed Peas, before reading poems and sharing thoughts with the crowd.
Some protesters held handmade signs condeming global racism while others read ‘I can’t breathe’ – some of the last words uttered by Mr Floyd.
The organisers at the event reminded individuals to stick to the social distancing guidelines.