Green Howards Association colonel condemns abuse directed at protesters

Counter-protesters on the obelisk on Sunday. Photo: Guy Carpenter.

The colonel of the Green Howards Association has condemned abuse directed at Black Lives Matters protesters in Richmond at the weekend.

The event in the town on Sunday was attended by hundreds of anti-racism protesters, as well as counter-protesters.

The anti-racism protesters heard speeches and knelt for nine minutes in tribute to George Floyd, whose death in the US at the hands of police officers sparked the global protests.

As well as chanting ‘all lives matter’ and singing songs including ‘Rule Britannia’ and the national anthem, some of those stood on and around the obelisk shouted obscenities at the protesters.

This included chanting ‘Nazi scum’ when a young black girl was giving a speech.

In another incident an anti-racism protester addresses the counter demonstrators telling them it “it doesn’t have to be us against you” before giving up due to the heckling and chanting from the obelisk.

The counter protesters also heckled the anti-racism group when they knelt for nine minutes, shouting ‘scum, scum, scum’ and telling the demonstrators to ‘get up’.

Several men stood on the obelisk during the demonstration were wearing Green Howards cap badges and at one point displayed a regimental flag.

Colonel Clive Mantell, representative colonel of the Green Howards Association, said: “We utterly condemn the abusive and aggressive heckling directed at people taking part in the Black Lives Matter event in Richmond.

“These verbal attacks from some individuals identifying themselves as Green Howards by wearing the Green Howards cap badge do not represent the Regimental Association, Green Howards Museum, trustees, staff or volunteers.

“Their attendance at the event was neither requested, nor required.”

The abuse has already been condemned by Richmondshire District Council chairman and North Yorkshire county councillor, Stuart Parsons, who called it “obscene”.

Richmondshire Today has been contacted by several veterans who were stood in the market place and in the Friary Gardens on Sunday who said they attended to prevent memorials being vandalised, as had happened elsewhere in the country in recent days.

Several of the veterans also criticised the abuse directed at protesters.

Sunday’s anti-racism protest was organised by the newly-formed Anti-Racism in Richmondshire – a group formed by local young people including a number of local sixth formers.

Police say two teenagers were detained after throwing water bombs into the crowd at the end of Sunday’s event.

A spokesperson said: “They were taken home and will be spoken to further.”