WATCH: Hundreds attend Black Lives Matter rally in Limerick

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Email:

nick@limerickleader.ie

Warning: the video contains language some viewers might find offensive

MORE than 250 people from across Limerick joined a protest to show their revulsion at the slaying of unarmed black man George Floyd .

Despite the organisers of the Limerick Black Lives Matter protest moving the event online over fears of social distancing, there was a huge crowd at Arthur’s Quay Park as many people shared their experiences of racism in Ireland. Many more joined in online.

In the USA, Mr Floyd died after a policeman stepped on his neck, in an incident which has sparked worldwide protests.

Tobi Lawel, from Castletroy, said: “People say just because police here aren’t stepping on people’s necks, racism doesn’t exist. Look around you. Would all these people be standing here today if racism didn’t exist? This is centuries of oppression. This isn’t going away.”

She urged people, when they see racism to call it out, and not be afraid.

"Change begins with us. We need to protect each other. This world is big enough to accommodate all of us in all our shapes and forms," she told the crowd.

Nhlanhla Banda, who lives in the city centre, says he has experienced racist discrimination since he was young.

"People think we don’t exist in this world. I say we do! My parents have been through a lot. For me, it is time to take a stand. We should be proud of saying we are black. But in the end, we are all human beings," he said.

There were regular chants of Black Lives Matter, and No Justice, No Peace throughout the rally, which went on for more than 90 minutes this Saturday afternoon, while many carried placards bearing Mr Floyd’s name.

Two public representatives joined the event: Cllrs John Costelloe and Elisa O’Donovan.

Cllr Costelloe said: "We don’t want racism in our city, in our country. Those days are over. I think police forces throughout the world need to not just be looked at, but reformed."

Ashleigh Boyd added: "People are outraged. We are very angry."

The gardai were present, but there were no clashes.