Marcus Rashford: Hundreds gather at mural for anti-racism demo

image copyrightPA Mediaimage captionThe 700-strong crowd gathered at the mural to protest against racism after three black England players were targeted after missing penalties in the shootout loss to Italy

Hundreds of people have gathered for an anti-racism demonstration at a mural of Marcus Rashford in Manchester.

The work in Withington, where Rashford grew up, was vandalised after England's defeat in the Euro 2020 final.

The mural has since been repainted and covered in supportive messages.

People took the knee as the Stand Up to Racism demo began at 18:00 BST, members of the community addressed the 700-strong crowd and a message from Greater Manchester's mayor was read out.

Karen Reismann, 61, who was fined £10,000 for breaching Covid rules during an NHS pay protest, said: "We all know [that these people think] if they win they are English, if they lose they are black."

image captionFelicité Sora said young black footballers in France had faced similar abuse

Felicite Sora, 35, came to the demo with her five-year-old son Ruben.

The NHS worker, who moved to Manchester from Paris six years ago, said she had seen "the same hate directed when Kylian Mbappe missed the penalty for France on social media".

"It was the same issue for very young black players in France," she said.

"It's important to support these young people [and] it's important that my son understands he is a beautiful young man whatever happens, like Rashford and Sancho and Saka."

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A girl who addressed the crowd said she admired the Manchester United forward for having the bravery to take a penalty.

"I'm not mad at him," she said.

"I'm just so proud of how he tried."

image captionPeople took the knee as the demo started in Withingtonimage captionKaren Reismann, who was fined £10,000 for breaching Covid rules during an NHS pay protest, addressed the crowd

The mural was defaced with several swear words shortly after Rashford missed a penalty, along with Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, in the 3-2 shootout loss to Italy on Sunday.

All three players have since been targeted with racist abuse on social media.

Greater Manchester Police said it was investigating a report of racially aggravated damage to the mural and a social media post which was directed at Rashford, Sancho and Saka.

Assistant Chief Constable Chris Sykes condemned the racist abuse and "vile behaviour" which has directed towards the England players.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to hold a meeting with social media firms regarding taking tougher action over racism.

Withington Walls co-founder Ed Wellard, who commissioned the artwork, said those responsible for the vandalism should be educated rather than punished.

A crowdfunding page for the mural has now raised more than £34,000, which Mr Wellard said would be used to fund further pieces.

media captionRashford mural tributes: 'Something beautiful out of something negative'

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