Trinity students are among demonstrators continuing to attend protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, including a protest today outside the US embassy in Ballsbridge.
The protest saw banners carrying sentiments such as “black lives matter”, “no justice, no peace” and “end direct provision” hung on the railings of the embassy.
Protests gained traction worldwide after video footage showing the violent police murder of Black Minneapolis resident George Floyd sparked protests and media attention across the United States.
In addition to individual students showing support for the movement, Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) told Trinity News it would appear at the protest in solidarity.
Speaking to Trinity News, TCDSU President Laura Beston said that the union is “antiracist and will always support movements and actions that call for an end to racism in all forms”.
“As President you hear a lot more than other people as students tend to come to you first with their issues to figure out where to get help,” Beston continued. “I can confirm that racism is, has and will be a problem in TCD if we continue to do nothing about it.”
On Friday, TCDSU published an email sent to Provost Patrick Prendergast condemning the lack of response from College on the issue, especially in light of reports of racism within Trinity. On the same day, an email was circulated from College to staff and students detailing steps that Trinity is set to take in autumn in order to combat racism, such as establishing a new Equality Office.
A similar protest scheduled for Monday, June 8, outside the US Embassy in Ballsbridge was cancelled because of concerns that protesters could not keep to social distancing measures established to minimise the spread of Covid-19. The organisers of the cancelled protest wrote on Twitter: “An Garda Siochana have not threatened or in any way attempted to intimidate the organisers, however, a number of safety concerns and potential criminal offenses surrounding the protest were raised and we have elected to cancel with the possibility of rescheduling.”
Over the last week, demonstrators at previous protests were criticised for gathering in close proximity, raising some concern that the protests could lead to a further spread of Covid-19 in Ireland.
The organisers of Saturday’s protest urged attendees to abide by Covid-19 restrictions, including not travelling more than 5km for the protest, practicing social distancing upon arrival, and refraining from passing out flyers and flaunting political party flags. This, wrote the organisers on Twitter, would not only endanger participants because of potential Covid-19 spread, but is also “not solidarity, you are taking space from Black people.”