Activists gathered for a socially-distanced demonstration in the Northumberland town on Saturday, the latest North East location to see a protest linked to the movement. This summer has seen an explosion in anti-racist activism following the killing of George Floyd, an African-American 46-year-old, at the hands of a white police officer. The shocking killing in Minneapolis on May 25 was captured on camera and within days triggered a resurgence in the global anti-racism movement.
Similar protests have been seen in recent months in city centres, including Newcastle and Sunderland, but the Hexham protest is one a growing number of smaller demonstrations in more remote towns. It was organised by a newly formed group call Hexham Against Racism, which has pledged to shine a light on racism in the Northumberland community. An organiser said: "The event was socially distanced throughout, entirely peaceful and exemplified how all communities can come together through positive expression of support and solidarity, for BME individuals in the community who are unfairly discriminated against."
Speakers included Hexham Against Racism founder Sophie Pasola and Chantal Herbert, young women’s network coordinator at the Angelou Centre, which provides training, counselling and legal advice to black women in Newcastle.
Thousands have taken part in Black Lives Matter protests in Newcastle city centre in recent weeks, prompting counter-demonstrations from far-right groups.
Northumbria Police has so far arrested 44 people after violent disorder in Newcastle city centre.
Following dawn raids targeting those who took part, assistant chief constable Scott Hall said: “The violent disorder we saw on Saturday was completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
“We have made it abundantly clear that anyone found to have been involved will be brought to justice."