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'A powerful protest': Police hail 4,000-strong Black Lives Matter demo

By Thomas Parkes | Birmingham | News | Published:

People taking part in a Black Lives Matter demonstration which brought 4,000 people in Birmingham city centre have been praised for staging a 'powerful protest'.

People protesting outside West Midlands Police headquarters Lloyd House during a Black Lives Matter protest rally in Birmingham yesterday

A huge crowd filled Centenary Square for the protest yesterday in an act of solidarity following the death of George Floyd.

People staged the rally outside the Library of Birmingham before it moved to Victoria Square and to outside West Midlands Police's headquarters at Lloyd House.

People gathered outside the home of West Midlands Police to stage a peaceful rally on Thursday

It came after Mr Floyd died when a white officer held him down by pressing a knee into his neck in Minneapolis on May 25, sparking days of protest.

The protesters were described as being "loud and passionate" and presented a challenge for officers to balance the right to protest and coronavirus restrictions.

Among those joining the protest was Aston Villa star Tyrone Mings who tweeted images of himself and others at the event.

He said: Nothing but energy and passion today. I make no apologies for standing up for what I believe in."

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Former West Brom player Saido Berahino was also among the crowd as he shared videos on his Instagram account.

Saido Berahino attened the event and shared videos on his Instagram account. Image: Saido Berahino/Instagram

West Midlands Police confirming there was no arrests, or disorder, with Chief Constable Dave Thompson saying the force would reflect on messages from the event.

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He tweeted: "A powerful protest by those attending yesterday. Once again Birmingham and the region stands tall. We listened.

"Now we reflect on what actions we and all other public services can do to continue to eliminate racism and improve equality and inclusion."

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson added: "West Midlands Police have taken a sensible approach to facilitating peaceful protests.

"Members of my office, including my Deputy Commissioner oversaw the policing operation.

A protester wearing a mask during a Black Lives Matter protest rally at Centenary Square in Birmingham, in memory of George Floyd who was killed on May 25 while in police custody in the US city of Minneapolis

"This is a cause that I am very supportive of. I am pleased that the protest has concluded without incident."

A policing plan was drawn up for the protest – with a small number of officers engaging with the protesters to keep the peace on Thursday.

A force spokesman added: "We will continue to work with communities and those taking part in any future protests wherever possible to ensure people’s safety.

People gather during a Black Lives Matter protest rally at Centenary Square in Birmingham,

"We ask that people continue to work with officers at this challenging time.

"West Midlands Police, and our colleagues around the country, stand alongside all those across the globe who are appalled and horrified by the way George Floyd lost his life."

Another protest is set to be held on Sunday in Wolverhampton.

Thomas Parkes

By Thomas Parkes
Senior Reporter - @TParkes_Star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton. Got a story? Get in touch at thomas.parkes@expressandstar.co.uk.

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