Shepton Mallet Town Council has been made aware that there will be a Black Lives Matter rally in Collett Park on Saturday 13 June 2020. We were only informed of this on Tuesday 9 June.
Saturday 13 June would have been a day of community celebration with the Collett Festival, but this had to be cancelled due to the pandemic.
As a council we support the cause and aims of Black Lives Matter to raise awareness of prejudice and racism and support people’s right to protest.
We have liaised with Avon and Somerset Police and Mendip District Council and both advice that it is not illegal for this rally to take place in a public place.
We are aware that there are mixed feelings from the local community, especially when current government regulations prohibit the meeting of more than six people outdoors.
This event is organised by Black Lives Matters who have given assurances that stewards will be present to ensure social distancing measures are in place, to manage entrances in to the park as well and ensure there is a supply of face masks and hand sensitisation.
As a town council we are not in a position to sanction or condone the rally despite it breaching the current government regulations.
Councillor Edric Hobbs, chair of Shepton Mallet Town Council
Charlotte Starkie, Town Clerk