North West Migrants Forum

North West Migrants Forum

Press Release: NWMF urges MLAs To Support BLM Protesters Fines To Be Dropped.

Press release
Date of issue: 7.6.20
North West Migrants Forum urges MLAs to support for fines issued to Black Lives Matter protesters to be dropped.

We welcome Gerry Carroll’s all MLAs to endorse this condemnation of policing of public gatherings and call for an apology the black community from the PSNI.
This amendment will be tabled later today in the Assembly.
Lilian Seenoi-Barr, stated, “I am very pleased, as is the entire BAME community, with what Gerry has proposed. It is a welcome amendment and we hope that the Assembly will vote in favour of it.
I think it is the right thing to do and it will send a positive message. Despite the Assembly being late to act, this amendment would the pain and hurt.


It is important to remember that Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where organisers and participants of the Black Lives Matter rallies have been issued with fines and threatened with prosecutions. During the Black Lives Matter rallies NWMF and other organizers worked hard to ensure the safety of all attendees by giving out facemasks, gloves and hand sanitiser and also making sure that everyone adhered to social distancing guidelines.

Although I do not doubt Michelle O’Neill’s claims that she also followed regulations, I do wonder why the Black community was treated differently. When we have challenged the PSNI and the Justice Minister on this blatant double standard, we have received confused, contradictory and inaccurate information.

I fail to understand why the PSNI policing tactics they used when we had our rally. At no other public gathering have they fined, intimidated or harassed anyone, nor did they recommend prosecution for organisers. We look forward to hearing the outcome of the motion being tabled during today’s Assembly.”

Since the rallies on June 6th that took place in Derry/Londonderry and Belfast, the PSNI and politicians have been criticised by BAME for both the way the rallies were policed and the double standard applied to other gatherings, such as Bobby Storey’s funeral on July 2nd . We as a community are keen to rebuild trust and relationships that have been strained during
this time but tactics used at our gathering were discriminatory.

Speaking ahead of today’s Assembly meeting Gerry Carroll of People Before Profit stated, “I am deeply concerned that the PSNI’s actions have been disproportionately aimed at Black Lives Matter activists, including BAME people, throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Whilst the police haven’t made contact with Michelle O’Neill, we have had anti-racist organiser’s doors being knocked and others issued with fines, cautions, and the possibility of
court proceedings.

It cannot be one law for Ministers and another for everyone else, especially marginalised communities in our society.


My amendment calls for these unfair fines to be dropped for anti-racist protesters. Anything less will stink of hypocrisy and make clear that the Stormont Assembly do indeed believe there should be one law for MLAs and another for the public.”


The North West Migrants Forum was founded in February 2012 and is committed to promoting equal opportunities and protection for people of minority ethnic backgrounds in Northern Ireland.
 
For more information on the North West Migrants Forum and the Black Lives Matter movement, visit www.nwmf.org.uk.
 
ENDS//

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