Sisters organise Devon protest over George Floyd death

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Jaycee and Nomi Makin
Image caption,
Jaycee and Nomi Makin organised the protest in Barnstaple

Hundreds of people took part in a protest in Devon over the death of African-American George Floyd in police custody nine days ago.

The event in Barnstaple, organised by sisters Jaycee and Nomi Makin, was attended by about 300 people.

Nomi, 17, said she had experienced racist abuse.

She said racism was "more prevalent" in Devon than it was in cities or places where more people from minority backgrounds live.

The Makin family moved from Coventry to the village of Braunton, near Barnstaple, six years ago.

"I had never experienced racism, moving from a place of such rich culture in Coventry and coming here - it was just such a shock," she said.

Nomi said she had been verbally abused in the street by strangers and by other young people.

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Protesters lay down in Barnstaple Square holding signs reading "No justice, no peace" and "White silence kills"

She said racism had "clouded" her childhood.

Nomi said the protest was a "beautiful experience", seeing people of all races come together and stand for Black Lives Matter.

"I finally feel like I have been given a voice to speak out," she added.

The protest comes as Devon and Cornwall Police Chief Constable Sean Sawyer said it was "time for communities and individuals to overtly speak out in support of those from black and ethnic minority communities, to reaffirm our collective rejection of racism and hate".

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The protest was attended by about 300 people, the majority of whom were teenagers
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Jaycee and Nomi marked the ground to help protesters maintain social distancing and handed out masks to those who took part

Mr Sawyer called on those organising protests to contact the force so it could help facilitate "that expression of feeling, which occurs at a time of a public health crisis".

Jaycee, 19, said she had experienced racist name-calling and it had been difficult not being able to protect her sister from abuse.

She said: "I think North Devon is guilty of racism so why shouldn't we have a Black Lives Matter protest, a peaceful protest, just to show that we care?"