Thousands of protesters march through Brighton during Black Lives Matter demonstration

THOUSANDS of protesters are marching through Brighton today in support of Black Lives Matter.

Demonstrators wearing black and carrying placards marched through the city centre today after gathering near Palace Pier.

It comes after a police watchdog launched a probe into Sussex Police following the arrest of a man from the BAME community who shouted "I can't breathe" as he was pinned down by officers.

The words are the same as those used by George Floyd, a black man from the US who died in May after police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

His death has sparked huge protests around the world under the Black Lives Matter (BLM) flag.

Today, protesters in Brighton wore face masks and carried banners reading 'Decolonise everything'.

Despite the face coverings, there was little room for social distancing as they marched along the seafront shouting: "Black lives matter every day."

Protesters passed the Brighton war memorial, which last month was occupied by a small group of campaigners amid a heavy police presence.

Gathering in their thousands, the protesters shouted: "It is our duty to do this every day.

"It is our duty to fight for racial justice, it is our duty to win – we are stronger together."

The latest protest comes two days a video showing a man shouting "I can't breathe" while being restrained on the ground by three police officers in Brighton was posted online.

Sussex Police said the man was arrested and became aggressive towards officers before he was restrained.

The incident has been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

Footage showed the man shouting that he couldn't draw breath – but one of the officers can be heard telling the man his arm is on his collarbone, rather than his neck.

This afternoon, one protester used a megaphone to tell gathered crowds: "Sussex Police has recently been filmed using excessive force on a young black man."

In a statement about the man's arrest, Sussex Police said the incident happened as PCs searched for a vulnerable missing teenager on Tuesday.

At an address in the city, a 28-year-old man refused police entry and was arrested.

"Once under arrest, the man became aggressive towards officers and was handcuffed and placed on the ground before being transported to custody," the force said.

"We train our officers to protect themselves and others using reasonable force and are reviewing this footage, together with body-worn video captured by the officers of the entire interaction, to identify if any further investigation or learning is required."

The film was subsequently shared widely on social media.

The protests in Brighton follow huge rallies in in cities around the country.

Campaigners gathered for several weekends in a row in London as part of anti-racism protests following the death of Mr Floyd in Minneapolis.

Some 10,000 protesters also took to the streets in Brighton last month.

There have been calls for the seafront resort to become an officially anti-racist city.

Carmen Appich, chair of the council's tourism, equality, communities and culture committee, said: "In the wake of the sickening killing of George Floyd the global calls for change and the impact of Covid-19 on black and ethnic minority people, we made a public pledge to become an anti-racist council.

"We acknowledge that it is not enough to be non-racist and we must actively use our privilege, position as community leaders and platforms to challenge structural racism and injustice within the council and in the city." 

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