Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration Leads Bridgetown Action
Solidarity march for the Black Lives Matter – Barbados Today
Solidarity march for the Black Lives Matter – by Anesta Henry June 13, 2020
Scores of Barbadians from all walks of life took to the streets of The City today to show solidarity for the Black Lives Matter marches being held in several countries.
The march, organized by the Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration started at Kensington Oval and finished at Independence Square, where speeches to end police brutality, racism and classism were delivered.
“I can’t breathe, take your knees from my neck,” the marchers shouted while accompanied by uniformed members of the Royal Barbados Police Force.
Several of them also carried placards in hand as they sought to get their message across to relevant authorities.
Some of the placards read: black lives matter, Justice for Iakobi, end police brutality, racism has killed more people than COVID-19, don’t just say it; believe black lives matter, racism there leads to colourism here, If you are silent in situations of injustice you have chosen the side of the oppressor, and there comes a time when silence is betrayal, among others.
Opposition Leader Joseph Atherley, Members of Parliament Trevor Prescod, Marsha Caddle and Kirk Humphrey, and representatives of several organizations, also joined the marchers on the road.
When the marchers approached Nelson Statue in Independence Square, majority of them kneeled in the road and advocated for the controversial statue to be removed from that location.
“Take down Nelson,” the marchers shouted.
Thousands have been demonstrating across the United States following the highly publicized death of George Floyd on May 25, after being arrested by police outside a shop on suspicion of passing counterfeit $20 bill to buy food. Footage shows a white officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for several minutes while he is pinned to the floor repeatedly saying ‘I can’t breathe.’ He was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
Today’s demonstration, which started at 11 a.m and was scheduled to finish at 1 p.m. according to the permission granted to organizers.
However, there appeared to be a disagreement between Police and General Secretary of the Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration David Denny who was asking for additional time for the programme to be completed.
Following a back and forth with senior officers at the Square, Denny said he was disappointed the extra time was not given to allow all the persons scheduled to speak to be able to deliver their contributions.
Denny argued that he believed the 15 minutes could have been granted based on the Public Order Act, which he said states that “you are allowed to hold a public meeting up until 11 p.m.”
“The Police also have to know the laws of the land and under the Public Order Act it allows you to hold a public meeting until 11 o’clock in the night. I asked them for permission until 1 p.m., but then I asked them to extend the time. All I am saying is that as a citizen, I also have a right under the Public Order Act. You got to let the people of Barbados know what is going on and that is what we did. But we accepted it, the meeting finished, and we will move on and we will continue the struggle,” he said. (AH)