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Abena Oppong-Asare voices ‘full support’ for Black Lives Matter protests

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One of the UK’s first British-Ghanian MPs has thrown her support behind the Black Lives Matter protests in the United States, saying the discrimination which sparked them “wasn’t exclusive” to America.

Erith and Thamesmead MP Abena Oppong-Asare said on Monday she was “in full support of the Black Lives Matter movements across the US and the UK”.

In a statement, the first-term MP also offered condolences to the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Tony McDade – three black people killed by US police over the last week.

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It comes after Floyd’s death in Minneapolis – which occurred after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes while he was in custody – sparked continuing protests across the country.

Thousands of people joined in similar rallies across central London over the weekend in a show of support.

Speaking on the issue, Ms Oppong-Asare said “this situation is not new and is not exclusive to the US”, drawing attention to rates of police involvement with Black Brits.

“Black people are 40 times more likely to be stopped and searched by police in England and Wales. Black people experienced 12 per cent of use-by-force incidents in 2017-18, despite accounting for just 3.3 per cent of the population,” she said.

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“Black people have always faced discrimination within the UK justice system and I stand alongside those demanding justice and change.”

She also pledged instances where video footage showed “disproportionate use of force by police officers against black people during Covid-19” would not go “unnoticed and unactioned”.

“I have always fought against racism in the UK and worldwide and as the MP for Erith and Thamesmead I will be vocal about injustice when I see it,” she said.

“I hope to work with the police and other stakeholders to address these inequalities. I am calling for urgent social and political change to address this injustice.”

Ms Oppong-Asare became one of the first two female British-Ghanian MPs alongside Bell Ribeiro-Addy after both were elected last year.

The former Bexley councillor has previously spoken out on addressing racism in the Labour Party after an internal document detailing racist and anti-Semantic issues was leaked to the public earlier this year.

“The only way we can address inequality is through diversity,” Ms Oppong-Asare said at the time.

“I am confident that by working together we can make our party and our movement a fairer, more equal and inclusive place for all.”

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