Police ban counter protests from Sunderland Black Lives Matter vigil planned for Keel Square
Northumbria Police has issued an order on Keel Square, banning counter protests ahead of the Black Lives Matter vigil on Thursday evening.
Northumbria Police has enforced a Section 14 order on Keel Square which bans any other public assembly, including counter-protests in the interest of public safety.
A tweet posted on the official Northumbria Police Twitter page says: “We'll be in attendance to facilitate a planned Black Lives Matter vigil at Keel Square in Sunderland tonight.
“A Section 14 order is in place forbidding any other public assembly, including counter-protests, to ensure the public's safety.
“Anyone with concerns should ring 101.”
This follows violent scenes in Newcastle earlier in the month when Black Lives Matter protesters clashed with counter-protesters at the Monument in the city.
Police have arrested 19 people in connection with the violence.
Sunderland Unites will lead this evening’s event, which will start at 6pm.
The vigil will see people take the knee, a gesture which has become symbolic of the movement.
It will also feature a minute’s silence in remembrance of James Furlong, David Wails and Joe Ritchie-Bennett, who died in a knife attack in a Reading park on Saturday – which is being classed as an act of terrorism.
A Sunderland Unites spokesperson said: “This Black Lives Matters peaceful vigil will be held in solidarity with the movement across the world.
“Anyone is welcome to come, but they must follow the safety measures, wear a mask and stick to the to metres distance rules.
“We want this to be a safe place for people to come and express their support and we hope in the post-pandemic world for a more equal world.”