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BLM: Campaigning for Change in Scotland

By Grace Broad

Photo Taken by Jackob Bowd in Edinburgh



In Scotland, anti-racism protests have gone forward in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Protests in Edinburgh and Glasgow have appeared to keep safety at the forefront, with many attendees opting to wear face masks and keeping their social distance.

At Holyrood Park in Edinburgh, many of our interns – whether as on-lookers or protestors – showed their support for the campaign live in action. Our photography intern, Jackob Bowd, attended the protest and shared his powerful words on the demonstration:

"Having attended the Edinburgh #blacklivesmatter protest outside the Queen’s palace – a very real monument of systemic injustice at the hands of Empire – I felt hope. Hope that the impassioned speeches and poems struck a necessary and long-lasting chord. That all those of none black identity in attendance understood a new and un-silent role in society must be inhabited with commitment and sincere thought.”

Glasgow has been praised for its successful peaceful protest. Barrington Reeves organised the protest that saw hundreds unite in Glasgow Green. Speaking with BBC news, Reeves stated,

“It’s amazing to see people already have taken social distancing measures seriously and doing the best they can to stay safe today.

The message that goes out today is that it’s time for change. We need reform, we need education, we need to be educating future generations not just on multi-culturalism but on anti-racism and we need to start tackling racism at a structural level. So, we’re hoping people here today will hear that message and will move forward and will make real change.”

The planned protest in Inverness was cancelled due to worries surrounding social distancing, but this has not prevented members of the public showing their support by hanging anti-racism posters on Ness Bridge.

Similar to Inverness, many have shown support in Aberdeen by sharing anti-racism posters across the city. Slots were allocated to hang the posters in respect of social distancing. On the 13th of June, however, the Black Lives Matter protest in Aberdeen was able to go ahead. Olaoluwa Akisanya, a third-year student at the University of Aberdeen, oragnised the peaceful protest which took place on Union Street.

Although public demonstrations continue to take place, campaigners have been encouraged by the Scottish government to protest virtually. On 7th June 2020, an online protest was held by the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) via livestream on their Facebook page. The digital event had been organised in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and Justice for Sheku Bayoh. In 2015, thirty-two-year-old Sheku Bayoh had died while in police custody, in Fife. A long-awaited public inquiry to Bayoh’s case has been reported, which will study the circumstances that led to his death in closer detail.



Photo Taken by Jackob Bowd in Edinburgh

Photo Taken by Jackob Bowd in Edinburgh

Photo Taken by Jackob Bowd in Edinburgh



Bibliography of Sources:

STUC, June 2020, BLACK LIVES MATTER – We Can’t Breathe. Justice For Sheku Bayoh: Black Lives Matter Virtual Protest and Rally, at: https://www.stuc.org.uk/campaigns-and-events/events/stand-up-to-racism/black-lives-matter-we-can-t-breathe-justice-for-sheku-bayoh

(Accessed 13/06/20)

BBC News, May 2020, Sheku Bayoh Death Inquiry Remit Announced, at:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-52754957

(Accessed 13/06/20)

Press and Journal, Easton, K. June 2020, Organiser Behind Aberdeen Black Lives Matter Protest Urges For ‘Continuous Action’, at: https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/aberdeen/2253350/organiser-behind-aberdeen-black-lives-matter-protest-urges-for-continuous-action/

(Accessed 13/06/20)

The Scotsman, Salmond, C. June 2020, Watch: Huge Black Lives Matter Protests in Ediburgh and Glasgow, at:

https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/watch-huge-black-lives-matter-protests-edinburgh-and-glasgow-2877194

(Accessed 13/06/20)

BBC News, June 2020, Coronavirus: Thousands Join Scottish Anti-Rscism Protests, at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-52949904

(Accessed 13/06/20)

BBC News, June 2020, George Floyd’s Death ‘So Similar’ To Sheku’s, at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-52921981

(Accessed 13/06/20)

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