Peaceful Black Lives Matter protest live-streamed from Norwich’s Eaton Park

Protesters take a knee at the Black Lives Matter protest in Eaton Park, Norwich, on Sunday, June 7.

Protesters take a knee at the Black Lives Matter protest in Eaton Park, Norwich, on Sunday, June 7. Picture: Anush Rajagopal Ganesh - Credit: Archant

While a large crowd of peaceful protesters gathered outside The Forum in Norwich to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement, a second campaigning event was also taking place at another city landmark.

A virtual protest was live-streamed across the internet from the bandstand at Eaton Park on Sunday, to provide an alternative to those who did not want to gather in person.

Organisers said that, by giving this option, “the public can listen from their own homes or their own socially distanced groups where they choose”.

“Whilst we still encourage people to stay at home and watch the livestream from lockdown, this way anyone who wants to protest outside can do so with self responsibility for their own health and safety.

“Our message in a sentence is this – stay at home, but if you do protest outside, do so with social distancing in mind.

Some still showed up at the bandstand to lend their support, though stewards were on hand to ensure social distancing rules were still being adhered to.

At one point, those who did attend in person knelt for eight minutes and 46 seconds in memory of American man George Floyd, who died after his neck was knelt on by a police officer for that length of time.

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The live streams from the event, hosted by University of East Anglia (UEA) student Trisha Margolis, have amassed tens of thousands of online views despite wet and windy weather causing some audio and video issues.

Commenting on one of the videos, Miss Margolis said: “Share this to whoever you can. When the videos come out spread the word.

“I am incredibly sorry for the quality of the stream, it’s the best we could do at this moment in time.”

But despite the problems, organisers persevered and the event continued with a series of guest speakers.

Like the event at The Forum at the same time, the protest was peaceful – in contrast with some more violent scenes from similar demonstrations in London and Bristol over the weekend.

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis said in a video: “First of all I want to thank everyone who has turned up today, whether that is physically, virtually, or you’re just coming to look at this later on.

“I wanted to say thank you for the solidarity you’re showing with the victims of racism, not just in the United States – not just George Floyd and all the other victims that we see on our TV sets and on the internet and social media every week – but with victims of racism all over the world.”

The death of Mr Floyd at the hands of US police officers has sparked global outrage over the treatment of black people.

Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin has been dismissed from the force and charged with second-degree murder.