Virtual gathering marks fifth anniversary of Sheku Bayoh's funeral

Sheku Bayoh poster at Black Lives Matter at Holyrood Park, EdinburghSheku Bayoh poster at Black Lives Matter at Holyrood Park, Edinburgh
Sheku Bayoh poster at Black Lives Matter at Holyrood Park, Edinburgh | JPIMedia
Family & campaigners go online rather than attend mass gathering

A virtual protest was held to mark the fifth anniversary of Sheku Bayoh’s funeral on Sunday.

It replaced plans to attend the Black Lives Matters demos which drew crowds of thousands to Edinburgh and Glasgow.

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The mass gatherings were organised in response to global anger at the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis.

Placards remember Sheku Bayoh at Black Lives Matter rally in EdinburghPlacards remember Sheku Bayoh at Black Lives Matter rally in Edinburgh
Placards remember Sheku Bayoh at Black Lives Matter rally in Edinburgh | JPIMedia

Mr Bayoh’s sister, Kadi Johnson, and the family’s lawyer, Aamer Anwar, decided against addressing the Glasgow event to avoid any threat of spreading the coronavirus amid a big crowd, and urged people not protest in other ways.

They were part of an online protest organised by the STUC on the fifth anniversary of Mr Bayoh’s funeral in Kirkcaldy.

He died on May 3, 2015 after being restrained by officers in Hayfield Road, and was laid to rest on June 7. His funeral included a march through town, which paused at the gates of the main police station on St Brycedale Avenue, and a rally which drew hundreds to Templehall Community Centre.

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The online protest was addressed by a number of activists as well as Humza Yousaf MSP, Justice Secretary, and Anas Sarwar MSP

The STUC said it fully understood the depth of anger and desire to show solidarity that prompted thousands of people to ignore bans on mass gatherings and attend the events.

At Holyrood Park in Edinburgh, the crowd respected social distancing, while stewards offered free face masks to all who attended.

Mr Bayoh’s name featured on some of the posters held aloft and pinned to railings around the park.

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Roz Foyer, STUC general secretary designate said of the event: “A fresh light has been shone on the death and injury of black and minority ethnic people in the Scottish and UK justice systems. It is a violent and sickening symptom of a deeper and wider problem which poses questions for all of our institutions.

“It is our duty to ensure that what is happening now is not just a moment of anger and solidarity. Rather our duty is to make this a beginning of an examination of our response to racism and our commitment to stamp it out.

“That process can begin with redoubling all efforts to achieve justice for Sheku Bayoh.”

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