An anti-racism protest will be held near the entrance of Caerphilly Castle on Saturday, June 6.
The recent death of George Floyd in the United States, at the hands of a US police officer who knelt on his neck, has sparked a wave of protesting across the Atlantic, as well as here in the UK.
Jamaine Brown, who has organised the protest at the castle, said that social distancing measures will be in place, with anyone wishing to attend urged to wear face masks and keep two metres apart.
Ms Brown, 22, from Caerphilly, has put posters up around town and has created a Facebook group to raise awareness of the event. The group currently has around 500 members.
Ms Brown said she knows of “at least 50” people who will be attending the demonstration, which will begin at 1pm.
She said: “I couldn’t go to the protest in Cardiff because it was more than five miles away, but I wanted to do something about it.”
Ms Brown, who is white, but has an adopted brother who is black, said: “Many people aren’t fully aware just how much of an impact racism can have on black people.
“The fact many black people can’t live normal lives because of racism, and can be mistaken for having a gun when they pull something out of their pocket is not right.
“George Floyd’s death hurt a lot of people and I think speaking up is the right thing to do.”
Saturday will be the first time Ms Brown has attended a protest, and she has called on those attending to “respect the castle and the environment” and urged attendees not to drop litter.
She said she wants the event to be peaceful and is hoping the protest will help people learn more about racism.
Gwent’s police and crime commissioner, Jeff Cuthbert, has called on residents planning to attend the protest to “reconsider their plans” due to Covid-19.
Mr Cuthbert said: “The anger people around the world are feeling following the death of George Floyd is understandable.
“The job of the police anywhere in the world is to protect and serve their communities. On this occasion there has been a serious failure and those responsible must be held to account.
“There has been a global outpouring of emotion following this incident and many people are incensed by it and rightly so.
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“However, I would urge anyone planning to attend a protest to remember that we are still in the middle of a serious public health crisis. People are still dying from Covid-19 every day and large gatherings increase the risk of it spreading further within our communities. Anyone planning to attend should reconsider their plans and think of other ways of registering their protest.”
Mr Cuthbert added: “It is my role to ensure that anyone dealing with the police here in Gwent is treated equally, fairly and with respect.
“Working with our key partners and communities is key to better understanding the issues faced by many black and ethnic minority residents, and to engage with them to help.”
Caerphilly’s Senedd Member Hefin David drew attention to a statement made by Welsh health secretary Vaughan Gething about Mr Floyd’s death.
Mr David said: “The senseless killing of George Floyd has created anger not just in America, but here in Caerphilly. Vaughan Gething, as a black man in public life, has faced prejudice himself.
“Black lives matter and we must listen and support those voices who challenge the inequality that still exists in our society. The right to peaceful protest is a key part of our democracy but it must also follow the social distancing rules that keep us safe.”
Senedd Member Delyth Jewell said: “I wish to offer my solidarity with those who are campaigning for justice for George Floyd. His murder at the hands of the US police was a travesty and his death must be a catalyst for change both in the US and in countries all around the world where black people continue to face racist discrimination on a daily basis.
“I’m unable to attend the protest myself but I’ll be there in spirit. I’d like to urge people attending to ensure they follow the social distancing guidelines at all times to mitigate the risk of anyone falling ill.”
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