TODAY, at noon, residents came together to stand in Victoria Square to support the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

The movement has gained a lot of focus recently following the death of a black man in Minneapolis, America called George Floyd after a policeman knelt on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds.

Protests in support of the movement and to show solidarity with black and minority ethnic communities have been taking place in the US and in the UK.

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St Helens people held their own silent protest today in Victoria Square, following an emotional speech from St Helens South and Whiston MP Marie Rimmer.

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People held up artwork showing George Floyd's face and placards with statements such as 'injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere' and 'Black Lives Matter'.

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Despite two individuals shouting during Marie's speech against the protest, the protest otherwise went ahead peacefully and strict social distancing was in place with all attendees wearing face masks.

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After Marie's speech there was a silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, with protesters shouting 'I can't Breathe' each minute, the words George Floyd spoke before his death.

Toni Swift, a representative from the collective of people who worked together to put together the protest said: "We want to thank Nadine and Jenny for originally organising the event and bringing it to our attention.

"Unfortunately it was cancelled due to some online hate - we just felt as a collective, including the supporters, that now was not the time to bow down to racism and hate - now is the time for us to speak up as a white majority town.

"We’re all overwhelmed at how much support we had in the end and we really couldn’t have done any of this without the support of the community. 

"Although we wish they had chosen their own time to do so and respected our PPE rules - we fully respect the two women who showed up briefly to counter protest.

"We respect their rights to protest and we implore everyone to protest any cause they feel needs to have attention brought to it.
"We are so lucky that we have the right to protest in this country— it’s what brought us LGBTQIA+ rights and Women’s rights.

"We want to thank Marie Rimmer for speaking and her fantastic team and Gary Maddock for coming down in support and also notifying the police of the event on our behalf. 

"We also want to thank Cllr Bisi Osundeko, Cllr David Baines and Cllr Mancia Uddin for expressing their support even though they couldn’t attend today.

"I know I can speak on behalf of everyone who showed their support today, at the protest or at home, in saying that we will continue to actively support the Black Lives Matter movement and the people of colour in our community - and hope that in the near future racial inequality will no longer be an issue. 

"Thank you again, Toni Swift, Connor Wright, Stella Martin and Aimée Pennington."

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