MORE than a thousand protesters engaged in a peaceful, poignant, and powerful demonstration this afternoon against racism and police brutality.

The Black Lives Matter event, which took place in Castle Park, Colchester, was organised by students from the University of Essex, and saw people turn out in droves to make their voices heard.

The sea of activists, who did their best to adhere to social distancing restrictions and wore face masks, were equip with placards featuring strong messages and a passion to stamp out racism.


Hosted in support of equality and against prejudice and discrimination, the smooth-running protest started with a speech from organiser Sophie, 21, who addressed the crowds and explained the importance of the demonstration.

"We are not asking for change, we are demanding change," she shouted as supporting cheers rang out from those in the crowd.

"This is not us overreacting, this is us reacting."

Then, in a touching show of solidarity, protesters took a knee and honoured the memory of all those whose lives have been lost at the hands of police officers.

The touching unison of silence was also in tribute to George Floyd, 46, who died in police custody after initially being pinned down by an officer in the US.


The horrifying incident, which was filmed, has been viewed by millions and sparked outrage, with demonstrations taking place across the UK and around the world.

Some protestors were also given the opportunity to tell their own stories and voice their opinions and feelings, with many receiving a rapturous applause after doing so.

There had been plans for activists to march through the town, but these were scrapped to ensure social distancing was followed and the public were kept safe.


Andre Castello, 19, from Colchester, said he was not surprised to see so many people turn out in support of the protest, because everyone has a part to play in ensuring equality is achieved.

"We are a minority, so it is important for us to fight for our rights," he said.

"But the white majority also need to fight for our rights, because they are the ones who can really make a difference in this country.

"It is important for us to be seen as equal, and there are naysayers, but real love has been shown today."


Trudey Asante, also from Colchester, headed to the protest with her younger brother and her friends.

She said: "The organisation of the protest went well and everyone who spoke on their experience was somehow relatable.

"Many people came with their colourful posters, some with very strong powerful messages.

"It was eye opening to see so many people come and show love and support for this event.

"Well done to the organisers."

Gazette: Picture: Trudey AsantePicture: Trudey Asante

Megan Yendani, 15, who also attended the protest, said it was moving to see so many people from the town standing up against racism.

“The protest in Colchester was an amazing experience, it was great to see that so many people from our town came together to acknowledge the amount of racism in the world,’’ she said.

“I went with my friends to participate by listening to other people’s voices and to fight for justice as a person of colour myself. 

“It’s great that we protested peacefully, held posters and shared such powerful words about racism towards black people.

“Hopefully, this will help the society in Colchester and the world to become a better place.”


Johnny Marriott, 32, from Colchester, said it is vital that people utilise their platforms in a way which can help get the message of equality across. 

"As a white man, I felt it was incredibly important to attend and show solidarity today,” he said.

“I was proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with my black Colchester residents in a way that was peaceful and powerful. 

“It breaks my heart that racism still prevails in our society. 
Gazette: Picture: Trudey Asante Picture: Trudey Asante

“It also inspires me that so many of my friends and neighbours were out in force to let people know this is not acceptable.

“Black lives matter and people of privilege have a duty to use their platform to amplify this message.”

To donate to Black Lives Matter Colchester visit