Organisers of the Black Lives Matter protest over the weekend have responded to some readers' concerns over social distancing.

Around a thousand people joined a demonstration in Watford on Saturday to call for an end to racial injustice and police brutality. 

But Liam Fowler, a member of Watford Alliance Community which organised the protest, explained the group did not expect such a huge turnout. It had anticipated just 100 to 200 people. 

He said  organisers had worked with police to encourage social distancing guidelines and masks being worn as much as possible.

He said: “Due to the amazing support of our community, they turned up in their hundreds. The local police that we worked with and attended are pleased with the outcome and have confirmed their continued support.”

Watford Observer: Liam Fowler, from the Watford Alliance (Photo: @Frozen_Energy_Photography)Liam Fowler, from the Watford Alliance (Photo: @Frozen_Energy_Photography)

Watford Observer:

Some groups were more dispersed than others at the march (Photo: Joseph Reaidi)

Mr Fowler added: “We are absolutely overwhelmed and sincerely grateful for the amazing support of our community and thank each and every member that joined us for Saturday’s peaceful event.

“Black Lives Matter is something we are all passionate about regardless of race. We come from many different ethnicities, but we all have the same goal - equality."

Hertfordshire Constabulary confirmed no arrests were made during the “respectful” and “free of disorder” event.

Speaking to the Watford Observer before the protest, a police liaison officer said the event was “good natured” and said “almost everyone here has masks on, so we’re keeping social distancing as best as we can”.

The mass demonstration on Saturday was a result of two separate protests converging into one.

One of the two protests were organised by a group called Watford Alliance Community, a group hoping to create opportunities for the younger generation in Watford.

Watford Observer:

The march at Cassiobury Park (Photo: Joseph Reaidi)

Mr Fowler that the group is currently in discussions with Watford MP Dean Russell on their plans to empower the empower youths and black members within the Watford community.

He said: “At Watford Alliance Community, a non-profit organization made up of a group of friends that grew up together in Watford, our mission is to advance the Watford area in the most positive way we can.

"We endeavour to do this by working with the local authorities to create opportunities, education and a sense of empowerment for the younger generation and make an impact.

“We have future plans in progress for workshops, sports activities and support coaching to encourage each and every attendee to develop and reach their personal highest potential.

“We are currently in the process of establishing a funded venue where all of the above will take place and following Saturday, we have been in talks with the MP for Watford and local council about putting all of our plans in to reality.

“We hope to encourage other communities to do similar initiatives for the greater good of the UK and beyond.

“Together we will be doing everything we can in the community of Watford, to try and reform the future for the next generation and Saturday was our first step. We are proud to say that all of the young people and all who attended the event were left encouraged and inspired.”

Watford Observer:

Some members of Watford Alliance with Anthony Joshua (Photo: Joseph Reaidi)

Hertfordshire Constabulary have also shared their continued support with the movement, as they say they respect “the right to free speech” from the protest.

Assistant Chief Constable Bill Jephson said: “Police Constables and PCSOs attended a peaceful protest held by the Black Lives Matter movement in Watford on Saturday 6 June, to monitor the event and ensure the safety of those protesting, as well as the wider public.

“Approximately 1000 people attended the demonstration, which was both respectful and free of disorder, and no arrests were made."

Watford Observer:

Some of the protesters at Watford town centre (Photo: Joseph Reaidi)

He added: “The right to protest is well established in this country and policing respects the right to free speech and indeed, has a role to facilitate peaceful protest. However, I would not want to see anyone become ill with Covid-19 as a result of mass gatherings. I would urge everyone to consider their health, and the health of others and act responsibly.

“We understand that people across Hertfordshire and beyond will rightly feel horrified about the death of George Floyd in America and we stand shoulder to shoulder with those across the country, and indeed the world, who are both saddened and angered by the way Mr Floyd lost his life on the 25th of May.

“We want everyone in the county to feel safe, and to have trust and confidence in their local police. There are always ways to improve but recent events have made the constabulary more determined than ever to continue working closely with all of our communities, while learning and striving to deliver fair and proportionate policing for everyone.”

To find out more about the work established by Watford Alliance, follow @watfordalliancecommunity on Instagram.