Over 3,000 people held a Black Lives Matter demonstration outside the US embassy in Dublin today.
hile they defied the advice of Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan and Lord Mayor Brabazon to call off the protest on public health grounds, the majority of those who attended wore face masks.
Organisers chalked an ‘X’ on the roadway every two metres as a guide to social distancing but there were sections of the throng which were standing almost shoulder to shoulder.
The people cheered loudly for a succession of speakers who criticised racism in the US and Ireland.
Direct Provision for asylum seekers in Ireland was also criticised repeatedly by speakers as “State-supported racism.”
Around 40 gardai observed the demonstration, which closed off adjoining roads to traffic.
One garda remarked: “It’s very peaceful and very well organised.”
A succession of chants echoed around the streets, including ‘I Can’t Breathe’, which were the words of black man George Floyd in Minneapolis as a white policeman kneeled on his neck while in custody in the street.
A large number of placards were held in the air with messages such as ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘White Silence is Violence.’
Lucky Khambule, co-ordination of MASI – Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland, led some of the chanting before addressing the crowd. He sharply criticised the four policemen involved in the American’s death, saying they behaved like “hyenas with their prey.”
He said racism was very much present in Ireland in the form of many kinds of discrimination and abuse. He claimed the Direct Provision system in Ireland “put the knee on the necks” of the people who were forced to share cramped accommodation with people from different countries which violated their rights to privacy.
The system was “State-sponsored poverty,” he claimed.
A 16-year-old girl who was born in Ireland to West African parents told the crowd she lives in fear of being teased, taunted and verbally abused on the streets of Dublin because she is black.
Reeta Wilson, who grew up in an African American family in Chicago, told the crowd several stories of day-to-day racism she and her family experienced.
Ms Wilson (40), now an Irish citizen teaching yoga, spoke of how her mother was terrified when the family were stopped by the police in a white neighbourhood while driving home from shopping. Their car was searched and they were told burglars in the area matched their description. Her mother told her later she was afraid she would be shot.
More to follow….
Source: Irish News