Hundreds of peaceful protesters have gathered in a town centre to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Around 1,000 placard-waving campaigners of all ethnicities arrived in Stafford’s Market Square following the death of George Floyd in the U.S.
They started arriving at 2pm with organisers reminding people to socially distance themselves despite the limited space.
The overwhelming majority are wearing masks or face coverings although due to the volume of people it is not always possible to keep two metres apart.
Police are keeping an eye on proceedings but the atmosphere remains calm and upbeat.
Some protesters are holding signs stating ‘Black Lives Matter’, and condemning global racism, whilst others simply said ‘I can’t breathe’ – some of the last words uttered by Mr Floyd, a black man who died after a police officer kept his knee pressed against his neck in Minneapolis.
A small protest is also being held in Leek this afternoon.
Adam Brooks, who is originally from Stafford, made the journey from Birmingham to join in.
The 36-year-old said: “I’m really pleased so many people have turned up.
“Stafford is only a small town so it’s made me proud to see how many people care.
“When I was growing up in Stafford you used to get little pockets of abuse but I never felt afraid.
“When I moved to Birmingham I thought it was going to be better but it was much worse.
“It seems more and more people are fighting for the cause. It’s not just a black movement anymore.”
Yemi Egopija, aged 45, of Stafford, said: “Today gives me hope that times are changing.
“Slavery ended when white people came on board and now a new generation of people are ashamed about white privilege and are trying to create a new world.”
William Turner, aged 42, of Stafford, said: “I’m here today to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
“It’s something that anyone who believes in fairness feels a civic duty to support.
“It’s very calm but there’s a real party atmosphere. People are socially distancing and people are taking it very seriously.
“It’s fantastic to see in a small town like Stafford.”
A number of speeches are being held, as well as music being played.
Following the 46-year-old’ Mr Floyd’s death protests have broken out across the globe with hundreds gathering in Hanley Park earlier this month.