Over 600 people expected at Black Lives Matter Peaceful Protest in Milton Keynes today

    Over 600 people are expected at a Black Lives Matter Peaceful Protest in Milton Keynes today, despite warnings not to attend from the Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

    650 people have clicked 'Going' on the Facebook event, with a further 905 saying they are 'Interested'.

    The protest is one of the hundreds taking place throughout the world to show solidarity and stand up against police brutality.

    It will take place outside the train station from 12pm to 12.45pm today.

    READ MORE: Protestors gather at Milton Keynes Station as Black Lives Matter event gets underway

    Health Secretary Matt Hancock yesterday told people to avoid protests and mass demonstrations due to coronavirus restrictions.

    Mr Hancock said: "Like so many, I am appalled by the death of George Floyd and I understand why people are deeply upset, but we are still facing a health crisis and coronavirus remains a real threat."

    "The reason that it is vital that people stick to the rules this weekend is to protect themselves and their family from this horrific disease."

    "So please, for the safety of your loved ones, do not attend large gatherings, including demonstrations of more than six people."

    READ MORE: Black Lives Matter protestors gather outside Milton Keynes Police Station as officers 'take the knee'

    Although it was originally planned for the protest to be a walk along Silbury Boulevard, organisers have now said the protest will now be a 'standing protest' at Station Square only.

    Event organisers posted on Facebook: "Whilst I would love to scream and shout for the cause down Silbury Boulevard, there is no way to ensure social distancing will be maintained through out, and as people are moving, it’ll be even harder to keep on top of."

    "I also want to make sure the protest is accessible to everyone, especially those with mobility issues and little children."

    "I know this may be disappointing to a lot of you who wanted to march (and it is to me too) but I have tried to balance protesting and limiting everyone’s exposure to the virus as much as is physically possible and the best way to do that is keep it short and sweet!"

    "There will be clear two meter distance markings and stewards to make sure that we’re all away from each other. It’s also supposed to rain so wear raincoats, bring umbrellas and a bin bag/camp chair if you’d like to sit down."

    READ MORE: Hundreds gather for Milton Keynes Black Lives Matter protest with 'excellent' social distancing

    Protestors have been told to wear masks, bring water and follow social distancing rules.

    However, some residents have shared concerns about the possibility of protestors potentially spreading COVID-19. 

    The organiser of the protest has since responded saying that if people follow social distancing measures and wear correct protective gear then it will be as "safe as going to the shops".

    These worldwide protests started following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, USA.

    Last week, footage was released showing a police officer kneeling on the neck of the 46-year-old who could be heard telling the officer that he could not breathe.

    The officer did not stop, and George Floyd died. 

    His death was ruled as a homicide, with the post mortem determining his cause of death as "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression".

    Protests have taken place in all 50 states in America, and millions of people worldwide have taken part in a social media 'blackout' to stand in solidarity. 

    Milton Keynes Council also lit up the Civic Offices purple earlier this week to remember George Floyd.

    MKFM is not involved in the organisation of the protest. It has been organised by a local resident, you can find out more here.

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