HUNDREDS of rural protesters lined the banks of a river in a united stand against racism and discrimination.

Black Lives Matter activists of all ages and from all walks of life, took to the River Colne on Saturday as part of a powerful anti-racism demonstration.

The discussion around police brutality and systemic racism has been reignited since the death of George Floyd, who died in the US two months ago while in police custody.

Since then, protests have taken place across the globe, including in Colchester’s Castle Park, where demonstrations have attracted more than 1,500 people.

Entitled, BLM In The Stix, the show of solidarity against racism was organised to show that people in rural settings can also play their part in the fight against discrimination.

Spread out over an 11-mile strip between Wivenhoe and Rowhedge, a congregation of more than 240 inspired activists held aloft placards with powerful messages.

Organised by dedicated Wivenhoe resident Gurpreet Sidhu, 42 - who helped set up the Black Lives Matter Wivenhoe Facebook group - it is hoped the riverside protest will inspire more rural communities to explore ways to tackle racism.

“This event was important because our community came together to make a stand against racism in rural communities,” she said.

“People felt able to voice their dismay at racist attitudes and to stand on behalf of people of colour to let them know that racism is not tolerated in Wivenhoe or Rowhedge.


“We want everyone who is racist to become anti-racist.”

At the protest, Wivenhoe councillor Mark Corey spoke about the need to support the Black Lives Matter movement, and local author A L Kennedy read a moving poem about white privilege.


Flyers were also given out to attendees and onlookers about how to combat racism in rural areas.

Gurpreet says the event has already resulted in a positive response.

“We’ve had more than 100 new people sign up to the group since the event,” she added.

“We now hope the event will help launch a national campaign to end racism.”