Hundreds of people lay down in solidarity on Thursday (June 4) for a Black Lives Matter protest in Barnstaple.

Scenes from the Black Lives Matter protest in Barnstaple. Picture: Matt SmartScenes from the Black Lives Matter protest in Barnstaple. Picture: Matt Smart

The peaceful gathering in the Square saw people protest against hate and racism and came off the back of similar scenes and events taking place in the wake of the death of George Floyd on May 25.

Moving scenes saw participants lie on the ground for eight minutes and 46 seconds – the length of time Mr Floyd was pinned to the ground by police during his arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The crowd broke out into applause as the demonstration came to its end.

Scenes from the Black Lives Matter protest in Barnstaple. Picture: Matt SmartScenes from the Black Lives Matter protest in Barnstaple. Picture: Matt Smart

Sisters Jaycee and Nomi Mackin were moved to organise a protest in North Devon after seeing demonstrations spread across the globe, and said they did not expect so many people to show up in support.

Jaycee said: “We just felt like there is a need for change and there is a need for change in North Devon.

“Growing up and moving from a city to here was a massive culture shock for us. Racism wasn’t a thing before in our lives, but it can be a daily occurrence now. We want to raise awareness that is alive and thriving in North Devon.”

Jaycee and Nomi Makin at the Black Lives Matter protest in Barnstaple. Picture: Matt SmartJaycee and Nomi Makin at the Black Lives Matter protest in Barnstaple. Picture: Matt Smart

Nomi added: “This has been a long time coming. People need to realise racism is one of the biggest issues the county faces, and something needs to change, or it will be alienated from the rest of the world as the world changes. Communities should be coming together to stamp ignorance out.”

Barnstaple-born Nathan Allen attended the protest with his daughters Tanisha and Lola.

The 43-year-old said: “The tide is turning, but we’re not quite there – especially in North Devon.

Kamie Sumskyte, Nathan Allen, Tanish Allen and Lola Allen at the Black Lives Matter protest in Barnstaple. Picture: Matt SmartKamie Sumskyte, Nathan Allen, Tanish Allen and Lola Allen at the Black Lives Matter protest in Barnstaple. Picture: Matt Smart

“I’m glad to see everyone here supporting the cause in a clear way – people are sticking up for each other.

“I was the only black person on the block growing up and at school for many years and when I was younger I had quite a bit of abuse. I lasted a week at my first primary school when I was beaten up, and I had to move to another one.

“It’s still here. I work in pubs so I get called things all the time, but it’s water off a duck’s back to me nowadays.”

Scenes from the Black Lives Matter protest in Barnstaple. Picture: Matt SmartScenes from the Black Lives Matter protest in Barnstaple. Picture: Matt Smart

Barnstaple Town Councillor Syed Jusef also attended the gathering.

He said: “There are a good number of people in North Devon who have been victims of racism and discrimination. This is a clear message that there is no place for it.”

Scenes from the Black Lives Matter protest in Barnstaple. Picture: Matt SmartScenes from the Black Lives Matter protest in Barnstaple. Picture: Matt Smart

Scenes from the Black Lives Matter protest in Barnstaple. Picture: Matt SmartScenes from the Black Lives Matter protest in Barnstaple. Picture: Matt Smart

Scenes from the Black Lives Matter protest in Barnstaple. Picture: Matt SmartScenes from the Black Lives Matter protest in Barnstaple. Picture: Matt Smart

Scenes from the Black Lives Matter protest in Barnstaple. Picture: Matt SmartScenes from the Black Lives Matter protest in Barnstaple. Picture: Matt Smart

Scenes from the Black Lives Matter protest in Barnstaple. Picture: Matt SmartScenes from the Black Lives Matter protest in Barnstaple. Picture: Matt Smart

Scenes from the Black Lives Matter protest in Barnstaple. Picture: Matt SmartScenes from the Black Lives Matter protest in Barnstaple. Picture: Matt Smart

Scenes from the Black Lives Matter protest in Barnstaple. Picture: Matt SmartScenes from the Black Lives Matter protest in Barnstaple. Picture: Matt Smart

Scenes from the Black Lives Matter protest in Barnstaple. Picture: Matt SmartScenes from the Black Lives Matter protest in Barnstaple. Picture: Matt Smart

Scenes from the Black Lives Matter protest in Barnstaple. Picture: Matt SmartScenes from the Black Lives Matter protest in Barnstaple. Picture: Matt Smart

Scenes from the Black Lives Matter protest in Barnstaple. Picture: Matt SmartScenes from the Black Lives Matter protest in Barnstaple. Picture: Matt Smart

Scenes from the Black Lives Matter protest in Barnstaple. Picture: Matt SmartScenes from the Black Lives Matter protest in Barnstaple. Picture: Matt Smart