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Black Lives Matter is Marxist, it's claimed in Lisburn council row

Alan Givan

Black Lives Matter has been branded Marxist in a "farcical" council debate on whether to stand in solidarity against racism.

Lisburn and Castlereagh councillors voted to drop any reference to the movement before the motion was passed at Tuesday night's meeting.

The original wording called for the council to join Black Lives Matter (BLM) in condemning "racism, discrimination and inequality".

Former mayor, DUP councillor Alan Givan, said the organisation was "questionable" and founded on Marxist principles.

Mr Givan said: "It doesn't matter whether they're black, white or yellow or red or whatever.

"The quantity of melanin in our bodies has no significance whatsoever in how precious any individual is."

The council will write to the Executive to "express disappointment" at delays to the Racial Equality Strategy, after the amended motion passed.

But Mr Givan said: "I read it and it's very long and wordy and will cost probably a fortune to implement and really, if the very first principle that we look upon ourselves as one family, it would be a much simpler and a much cheaper option."

Sinn Fein's Ryan Carlin said he was in "disbelief" at Mr Givan's remarks, which were "fairly insulting".

He supported the original motion and added: "Black lives do matter and we don't need to say 'all lives matter' because all lives aren't currently under threat."

UUP councillor Jim Dillon said he did not understand why it had been brought to council.

He added: "Why I cannot support BLM is to see the hatred in their faces, in their demonstrations, when they attack our national monuments, when they attack the statues of Queen Victoria."

He said it was a "tragedy there was ever slaves", but added: "What about the slaves who built the Colosseum in Rome? Have we not moved on a lot from then? Of course we have."

Alliance's David Honeyford, who brought the motion, said it was "beyond belief" to argue against the inclusion of BLM.

DUP councillor Jonathan Craig said BLM had none of the dignity of his personal hero, Martin Luther King Jr.

UUP councillor Stuart Hughes said the debate had "delved into farce". The motion passed after councillors voted in favour of UUP councillor Hazel Legge's amendment by 26 to 14.

The amendment took out reference to BLM.

Belfast Telegraph