Cancellation of Black Lives Matter Peaceful Protest in Lydney following Councillor's letter stating 'All Lives Matter':


It has been reported that the organisers of a Black Lives Matter protest, due to take place in Lydney on Saturday 20th June 2020 in Bathurst Park, has had to be cancelled following a letter from the council.

Lydney is a town in Gloucestershire where organisers Khady Gueye and Eleni Eldridge-Tull had been planning to hold a peaceful Black Live Matter protest, to allow the people of their town to join the movement to, the organisers stated "show solidarity with the worldwide movement for racial equality following the death of  George Floyd', who was seen in video footage being killed by a white police officer in Minnesota.

The letter, shared on Facebook by one of the organisers, Khady Gueye, also later Tweeted to the Guardian by fellow organiser Eleni Eldridge-Tull, was sent to them by the Town Councillor Walter Leach, a letter in which he was continuously seen to mention that 'all lives matter' with a notion that the protest would be "...more damaging to the cause than helpful". 

(see the full open letter below)

Poster by: @gemini.pollux | Photography by: @tyenglishvisuals

CREDITS: Poster by: @gemini.pollux | Photography by: @tyenglishvisuals

The organisers were understandably very disappointed at the letter and followed up with a message on organiser Khady Gueye's Facebook page, showcasing the letter in full and letting supporters know that the peaceful protest was cancelled. The open letter had mentioned that the authority had been asked to approve "a small event of 50 people". Khady seeked to clear this up in her post, denying such an accusation saying "At no point were the council, Police or FODDC advised that this would be a gathering of no more than 50 people". 

See Khadys' post here:
Although the organisers did allegedly give safety guidelines, advising the wearing of PPE masks and for social distancing to be followed during the peaceful protest in advance, the open letter referred to social distancing and the active pandemic saying "...I am calling on the organisers to show due respect for Lydney and that indeed 'All Lives Matter' to cancel or at least postpone this event..."



The Open Letter Reads in Full:

"Dear Khady and colleagues,


I feel that I can speak for the council and the overwhelming majority of Lydney residents to say that we all support the underlying aims of the Black Lives Matter campaign and indeed the wider sense that All Lives Matter.


The council/trust were asked to allow a small event of 50 people to make a peaceful protest following social distancing guidelines in Bathurst Park on the above date this was given our support along with the police and other authorities.


It is now very obvious that this event has grown way beyond the scope of what we were asked to approve and is causing significant anxiety within our community and, in my opinion, this is more damaging to the cause than helpful.


Recognising that Bathurst Park is set in the middle of a residential community where a significant number of shielding people live, people who have for the past 10 weeks made every effort to remain safe and are still confined to their own homes, we cannot support an event that is now looking to attract over a 1,000 people.


I am calling on the organisers to show due respect for Lydney and that indeed 'All Lives Matter' to cancel or at least postpone this event and actively discourage people from attending so as to respect the lives of those in and around the park and not put the population of Lydney at greater risk of an increase in COVID related illness.


I believe this would be the most supportive act you can do both for Lydney and indeed the BLM cause as demonstrates respect for all lives.


As supporters of the underlying aims the Council would be happy to promote the use of the railings around the Park for supporters of BLM to hang suitable messages of support for the cause and create a temporary memorial that can be visited at any time, and in suitable numbers, and demonstrate Lydney's support of eradicating any racial prejudice.


Sincerely, Councillor Leach, Mayor Lydney Town Council


Supported by Councillor R Kemsley (Chairman, Bathurst Park Trust)"



The letter suggested that it would be appropriate to use the railings in the park to showcase support mentioning '... As supporters of the underlying aims the Council would be happy to promote the use of the railings around the Park for supporters of BLM to hang suitable messages of support for the cause..."  

Following this a supporter who referred to themselves as "a white Lydney resident that knows our BAME members of the community deserve better" left the following sign up on the railings in the park, as invited to do so in the letter.


This notice was promptly removed, although it is not known by whom, showcased in a video post by the resident Rosie Brice via the Forest of Dean Black Live Matter Demonstration Page 


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CREDITS: Poster by: @gemini.pollux | Photography by: @tyenglishvisuals

Cancellation of Black Lives Matter Peaceful Protest in Lydney following Councillor's letter stating 'All Lives Matter': Cancellation of Black Lives Matter Peaceful Protest in Lydney following Councillor's letter stating 'All Lives Matter': Reviewed by Crystal Emmanuel on 13:43 Rating: 5

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