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

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.”

Now more than ever, we need your help to fund the Bedford Independent’s quality journalism that serves our community...

We choose to champion editorial independence, meaning we report the facts without bias and can stand up to those in power when we believe it’s needed.

We can give a voice to people in our community whose voices may otherwise not be heard. And we don’t have a paywall, so everyone can read the stories we publish for free.

But in this time of crisis, many news organisations all over the world are facing existential threat, with advertising revenues plummeting. We’re no different.

We work hard every day to bring you news, commentary, entertainment and announcements from across Bedford. We hope that, with your help, we’ll be able to continue this for many years to come.

Will you help sustain our work today by clicking below ? Even a small donation makes a difference for our future.

Thank you for your support.