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Anti-racism rally still on, but Covid rules must be followed, say organisers

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Black Lives Matter protesters outside the GPO on Monday

Black Lives Matter protesters outside the GPO on Monday

Black Lives Matter protesters outside the GPO on Monday

An anti-racism protest will go ahead at the US embassy on Saturday, despite the cancellation of another rally over "potential fears of prosecution".

Three organisations representing migrants, asylum-seekers and the black community in Ireland said they intend to hold a socially-distanced protest at the embassy in Ballsbridge over the death of George Floyd.

Political

The killing of Mr Floyd by Minneapolis police on May 25 has sparked mass protests and riots in more than 40 US cities.

Black Pride Ireland, the Movement of Asylum-Seekers in Ireland (MASI) and Migrants and Ethnic-minorities for Reproductive Justice (MERJ) announced yesterday they still intend to hold their protest, as long as protesters abide by the Covid-19 restrictions and do not travel more than 5km from their homes to take part.

They also insisted protesters abide by social-distancing rules and refrain from bringing political party flags and organisational paraphernalia and handing out flyers that are not related to Black Lives Matter.

"It is not the time for you to recruit in any way. That is not solidarity, you are taking space from black people," they wrote.

"Black Lives Matter was a hashtag started in the US by three black women to highlight the disproportionate murders of black lives.

"Anti-blackness is global, and here in Ireland we see it occur in the way we police crime and incarcerate asylum-seekers in direct provision."

The move comes after thousands of mostly young participants who took part in last Saturday's solidarity protest were criticised by gardai and government officials for gathering in mass groups despite the pandemic.

The unnamed organisers announced on Twitter yesterday that they will not hold a similar rally outside the US embassy on June 8 for fear of prosecution.

"We ask that people do not attend any protests, in their own interests," the post said.

"We will share details of an alternative digital action.

"An Garda Siochana have not threatened or in any way attempted to intimidate the organisers.

Safety

"However, a number of safety concerns and potential criminal offences surrounding the protest were raised and we have elected to cancel, with the possibility of rescheduling."

Health Minister Simon Harris said that while he abhors racism, "it doesn't mean we can ignore mass gathering guidelines - the reality is regardless of your cause or how just your cause is, large gatherings are dangerous".

"We have to be careful. Just because we support a cause doesn't mean we have to be silent on a protest that did clearly breach guidelines," he added.