James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
Brave teenage protester who stepped between police and crowds speaks to LBC
10 June 2020, 18:40
Shelagh Fogarty spoke to Black Lives Matter protester Zulaika Smart-Regan after she bravely stepped in front of crowds that appeared to be pursuing retreating police officers.
In the viral video filmed by LBC's Matthew Thompson, Ms Smart-Regan told the anti-racism protesters to stop hurling objects and said,"It’s not why we’re here."
Shelagh commended the bravery of the 5 foot 4 18 year old young woman: "You were so impressive...did your mum say you were foolish or did she say you were brave and impressive?"
Ms Smart-Regan that thankfully her mum thought she was brave: "The whole video wasn't caught on tape and the situation wasn't actually at the police, it was at a particular man being protected by the police.
"Either way it didn't make it OK because violence is not necessary and that's not why we were there. I just felt that it was misled violence, they were just frustrated, we wanted to be heard, we felt like we weren't. Either way violence is not the answer and I felt like everybody needs to understand that."
Ms Smart-Regan told Shelagh that while she had not heard it herself she was told that the man running away from the protesters had made a racially derogative statement directed at one of them.
After Ms Smart-Regan intervened, other members of the crowd started supporting what she was doing and they became peaceful - a member of the protest asked the police to put their batons away to signify that they were also not there to be violent.
"We had almost called a truce which was beautiful to see...we were all here for a bigger cause," she said, reflecting that she had been at the Black Lives Matter protests to listen to others and found it very empowering that everyone was standing together.
"Obviously what's happened to George Floyd is a horrible thing but what's come off the back of it has been beautiful, everybody standing together, we finally have something to fight for as a unit and I think it's amazing to see," she said.