Shelagh Fogarty rows with caller over whether it's worth risking lives to protest during pandemic

4 June 2020, 19:06

Shelagh Fogarty questions this caller over whether it is worth risking people dying from coronavirus to attend the Black Lives Matter protests.

Shelagh said that while the cause is extremely important and just, many protesters have not been socially distancing and could therefore infect those around them.

"I'm not saying you should wait for justice, wait for equality, wait for respect. You should have that everyday every bit as much as everybody else does, absolutely," she said, "all I'm saying is the reality of a pandemic is the reality of a pandemic."

For those who went on the protest, due to the strength of their conviction, they knowingly put others into harm's way.

Caller Ashante said that even the worldwide deaths of coronavirus do not match the deaths by King Leopold II, for example.

"Yes people may unfortunately as an outcome be more likely to pass on something if they have caught it, but that's also an if," Ashante said, "people came very gloved up and masked up. We are still thinking about it."

Ashante explained that she had been adhering religiously to lockdown, causing Shelagh to feel all the more reason why going to a crowded protest and returning home is a "huge risk."

"It's not worth risking lives to protest during pandemic"
"It's not worth risking lives to protest during pandemic". Picture: LBC/PA

"This is for black people globally to be treated as human beings finally," Ashante said, "we have to...this is our lives and us not being treated right."

Shelagh countered: "You don't feel as strongly about doing everything in your power to stop even one more person choking to death, gasping to death from coronavirus?"

Ashante said if people are casualties then she is sorry but she has to do what she has to do: "We have to take a stand and we have to do it now."

Shelagh asked, "Even though 50,000 people have died you still think a gathering of that size is justifiable?"

Ashante said that King Leopold II killed millions more black people, "I will not stop and I will not be told it's selfish."

"It isn't selfish to fight for and want the things you want...I'm just questioning the gathering yesterday, not the motivations of it, not the content of it, but the biological fact of it was foolish and deadly!" Shelagh said, to which Ashante countered that if Shelagh even has to question it she does not understand.

Shelagh replied: "Have 50,000 black people died of racism in the last three months? No. Have 50,000 black, brown, white people died of coronavirus in this country? Yes."

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