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George Floyd protests: John Boyega’s impassioned speech at yesterday’s Hyde Park demonstration is essential listening

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Lauren Geall
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John Boyega at George Floyd protests in London on Wednesday 3 June

Joining protestors at yesterday’s anti-racism protests in London following the death of George Floyd, John Boyega made an emotional speech in which he implored the crowd to “join together to make this a better world”.      

On 3 June, John Boyega joined anti-racism protestors in London following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer. 

The Star Wars actor, who has been vocal in his support of anti-racism and Black Lives Matter movements on social media, shared a rallying speech with protestors, reminding the crowd that they were a “physical representation” of the black people who had lost their lives to racist violence in the US and the UK.

“We are a physical representation of our support for George Floyd,” Boyega said. “We are a physical representation of our support for Sandra Bland. We are a physical representation of our support for Trayvon Martin. We are a physical representation of our support for Stephen Lawrence. For Mark Duggan.

“This today is about innocent people who were halfway through their process. We don’t know what George Floyd could have achieved, we don’t know what Sandra Bland could have achieved, but today we’re going to make sure that won’t be an alien thought to our young ones.”

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Joined by rallying cries from the gathered crowd, Boyega was clearly emotional as he told white and non-black people why he needs them to “understand how painful it is” to watch black people be killed just because of the colour of their skin.

“I need you to understand how painful this shit is,” he said. “I need you to understand how painful it is to be reminded every day that your race means nothing and that isn’t the case anymore. That was never the case anymore.”

He added: “This is very important. This is very vital. Black lives have always mattered. We have always been important. We have always meant something. We have always succeeded regardless. And now is the time – I ain’t waiting.

“We don’t leave here and stop. This is longevity. Some of you are artists, some of you are lawyers, some of you are bankers, some of you own shops and stores – you are important. Your individual power and individual rights are very important. We can all join together to make this a better world.”

Global protests have taken place over the last week to demand justice for George Floyd’s death at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

In a now viral video, Floyd can be heard saying “I can’t breathe” multiple times as officer Derek Chauvin kneels on his neck for at least eight minutes.

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On 29 May, Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. However, the charge has now been elevated to second-degree murder. 

Three other officers present at the scene – Thomas Lane, J Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao – all face charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder, and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

Floyd family lawyer Benjamin Crump said in a statement: “This is a significant step forward on the road to justice and we are gratified that this important action was brought before George Floyd’s body was laid to rest.”

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