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Virtual rally to be held to support Justice for Sheku Bayoh campaign

Right: Sheku Bayoh. Left: Kadi Johnson and the family in Edinburgh with Aamer Anwar in 2018
Right: Sheku Bayoh. Left: Kadi Johnson and the family in Edinburgh with Aamer Anwar in 2018

A virtual protest is to take place on Sunday evening as part of the Black Lives Matter movement – marking the fifth anniversary of the burial of Fife man Sheku Bayoh.

Mr Bayoh died in 2015 aged 32 after being restrained by officers responding to a call in Kirkcaldy, and his family have demanded justice ever since.

Amid ongoing concern about social distancing at protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death in the US, the Scottish Trades Union Council (STUC) has organised an online rally to reaffirm its support for the Justice for Sheku Bayoh campaign and shine a spotlight on the racism experience by black and ethnic minority people in Scotland on a daily basis.

The move comes after Mr Bayoh’s sister, Kadi Johnston, who is a staff nurse, urged people to protest digitally due to the pandemic.

‘I know the deadly impact of the virus’: Sheku Bayoh’s family will not speak at Black Lives Matter protest due to coronavirus fears

Ms Johnson will be one of the speakers at the rally, along with Aamer Anwar, lawyer for the Bayoh family, Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf, Anas Sarwar MSP, and Usman Ali, chairman of the STUC Black Workers Committee.

Roz Foyer, STUC general secretary designate, said: “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.”

Mr Ali, chair of the STUC Black Workers’ Committee, added: “We have seen a sharp increase in racism since the health, social and economic pandemic of coronavirus started.

“We need to recognise and call out the issues affecting Scotland’s Black workers including the type of job roles they are likely to perform, the low rate of pay they are often likely to receive, the poor treatment and conditions they are having to put up with.”

The virtual protest will be streamed to the STUC facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/scottishtuc.

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