THOUSANDS once again took to the streets of Brighton and Hove to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

It has been estimated that more than 2,000 people turned out for the event on Saturday.

Though numbers did not match the enormous showing of last month’s protest, in which more than 10,000 people filled the seafront, the large crowds still made plenty of noise as they wound their way through the city.

A steady stream of people wearing face masks and carrying banners filed into Madeira Drive shortly before noon, with Brighton Palace Pier set as the start point for the march.

The Argus:

Speakers addressed the crowd as they prepared to set off, their voices broadcast across the seafront by a loud tannoy system.

One said: “It is our duty to fight for racial justice and it is our duty to win.

“We are stronger together and we are here with love, peace and solidarity.

“We have nothing to lose. Too many have already lost too much.

“Thank you, stay safe, Black Lives Matter.”

The Argus:

The message was met with rapturous applause and, with that, the crowd set off.

Protesters were led west along the seafront by two men carrying megaphones which blared out the sound of police sirens.

But these were soon replaced by chanting.

Cries of “no peace, no justice”, “Black Lives Matter”, “silence is compliance” and “say his name, George Floyd”, echoed through the throng of people as they made their way towards the Clock Tower at the top of West Street.

Many protesters also carried banners with messages including “enough is enough” and “we demand justice”.

The Argus:

The march wound its way down to Old Steine and along Valley Gardens before finishing at The Level, where an open mic session was held.

Throughout the march, Palaye Seck (pictured) lead the way wearing traditional Senegalese dress.

At The Level he performed the myth of the African lion Simb.

“This act I do is a Senegalese symbol, it is the most traditional dance in my country,” he explained.

Palaye is a security officer in Brighton, but also hosts workshops teaching people about African dance.

He said: “It’s a very good education and it is a good way to bring people together - to make peace, love and harmony.”

He said that, as he attended the protest on Saturday, he was quickly encouraged to head to the front of the march.

“It (the reaction to his clothes) made me feel very happy,” Palaye said.

University of Sussex student Sola Ajayi also spoke at the gathering.

The Argus:

The 22-year-old told The Argus: “It (the demonstration) does show that Brighton believes in solidarity.

“It shows that we are not just committed to events like Pride, but also Black Lives Matter and other less visible events.

“It shows the movement is here in Brighton.”

“It’s very important because I have lived here and it’s my life.

“It’s great to see so many like-minded people out in support of the movement.

“I’m not walking past a white person and thinking they might hate me.”

During her speech, a team wandered through the crowd handing out masks and hand sanitiser.

The Argus:

They were members of Mask Up, the brainchild of 21-year-old physiotherapy student Hansaka Seneviratne.

Founded last month, the organisation raised more than £1,260 to allow people to take part in demonstrations while minimising their risk of infection from Covid-19.

The not-for-profit organisation was started after a flurry of Black Lives Matter protests in Brighton, as well as across the world.

These followed the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after being restrained by a Minneapolis police officer in the US.

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He pleaded for air, telling the officer “I can’t breathe” as he was restrained for almost nine minutes.

All four officers involved in George Floyd being taken into custody have since been fired and arrested. Derek Chauvin faces several charges including second-degree murder, while the other three - Thomas Lane, J Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao - are charged with aiding and abetting murder.

At the end of Saturday’s event one of the speakers took to the microphone to urge people to take all their litter with them.

The Argus:

A different scene at Old Steine

At last month’s Black Lives Matter protest there was friction at the Brighton War Memorial as tensions flared between protesters and a small group who said they were ‘protecting’ the monument.

But the scene could not have been more different on Saturday.

“We have claimed that space,” a speaker from Extinction Rebellion declared at Brighton Palace Pier - the start point of the weekend’s Black Lives Matter march.

The Argus:

The group had set up a welfare point, handing out water and suncream as the 2,000-strong procession made its way past them.

And that was not the only change.

Pachelbel’s Canon echoed across the memorial, played by a group of seven string musicians.

“It was the only one we all knew,” organiser Lizzy Carey, of Epic Jam Band, joked.

The 44-year-old music teacher said the idea had sprung up in a chat with friends as a tribute to violinist Elijah McClain.

The 23-year-old black man died last summer after being put in a chokehold by police in Aurora, Colorado, as he walked home from a convenience store.

Last month, thousands attended a violin vigil in memory of Elijah in Aurora.

And, on Saturday, Brighton and Hove followed suit.

Lizzy wore a green cape emblazoned with the words “rest in power Eijah McClain” as she played alongside fellow teachers and pupils.

The Argus:

She said: “He (Elijah) was known to be a gentle and peace-loving person.

“Yet he died in this incident.”

She said this was one of several reasons she felt it was prevalent to attend the Black Lives Matter demonstration.

Lizzy said: “It’s massively important for me to be here as a teacher.

“Black history is basically never taught in the current curriculum - in my past I certainly didn’t learn anything outside of Eurocentric thought.

“I have tried to teach my kids about the importance of black history and culture.”