Anti-racism group petitions US government as march is held over George Floyd and Momodou Lamin Sisay deaths

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By Sarjo Brito

Gambians under Rising Against Racism organisation on Saturday took to the streets, joining the rest of the world to decry police brutality, racism and other injustices against blacks.

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The world has witnessed a wave of protests following the fatal arrest of George Floyd in the United States.

The protesters marched from the Pipeline mosque to the American Embassy where a petition was handed to regional security officer at the Embassay Rebecca McKnight.

“In the words of the US Ambassador Paschall, ‘those who peacefully gather to demand justice, an end to racism and discrimination and meaningful reform as putting into action the values of democracy and respect for human rights and human dignity for all. The US Embassy shares these values with Gambians and we thank you for this petition and opportunity to engage us on this topic’,” McKnight said shortly after receiving the petition on behalf of the US Embassy and the US government.

Earlier on, RAR official Momodou King Colley said their petition is not an appeal; rather a demand for the United States to respect and protect the lives of black people.

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“In essence, we are not here to appeal to the United States to respect and protect the rights of blacks, but we are demanding it. Otherwise, the United States government should ask themselves whether they want to live in isolation. We cannot and will not allow their Embassies to operate in our various countries while they continue to treat black people with complete disregard and contempt,” Colley said.

Chanting, ‘black lives matter’ and ‘no justice no peace’, the protesters began their march from Pipeline mosque shortly before 11am.

Halfway into the less than a mile march, the protesters stopped and placed a knee on the ground as they chanted, ‘black lives matter’.

On March 25, a white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee on the neck of George Floyd for nearly nine agonising minutes. Floyd then died.

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Palpable anger has since continued to trail Mr Floyd’s death both in America and beyond.

One of the protesters Kemesseng Sanneh said ‘enough is enough’ and asked that the civil rights of black people be respected.

Even though the turnout was not that good, Sanneh said numbers do not matter in times like these.

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