Another peaceful BLM protest as organisers look at long-term plans

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Elise Patterson
Protest organiser, Elise Patterson.

The organisers of another peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in Bedford have said they’re now looking at a longer term campaign and support from a “higher level” to fight racism.

15-year-old Elise Patterson, who also organised a Bedford town centre protest on 8 June, hopes local politicians will now support their actively anti-racist message.

Read: Young people support Black Lives Matter with Bedford town centre protest

“We are going to continue protesting but we’d love for our local MP to join us too,” Elise said. “We want to hear what he can do to help us and take it to a higher level.”

The Bedford Independent asked Bedford and Kempston MP, Mohammad Yasin (Labour), if  he would attend a future event.

He said he was “proud to support” the peaceful protests expressing “shock, rage and grief at the brutal killing of George Floyd”.

But due to shielding responsibilities and concerns over the unstable coronavirus infection rate, he has decided not to attend large gatherings at this time.

“Sadly, it is a reality that racism is still endemic across the globe,” he added.

“Whilst I’m proud to be Bedford and Kempston’s first BAME Member of Parliament, representing residents long since proud of our multiculturalism and diversity, there is still racism in all our towns and cities.”

Elise says they’ve also been speaking to other more established groups so they can all coordinate their efforts.

Around 150 people attended the peaceful, and socially distanced, protest in Russell Park on Saturday (13 June) with speakers talking about their own experiences of racism.

They then marched along The Embankment to help create further awareness to their cause.

A group of bikers stood near to the war memorial to ‘protect’ it from damage but one protester said: “We’re not here to damage anything. We’re here to promote peace.”

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