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The Conversation article, by Lakshmi Manoharan, Medical Epidemiologist. Widespread protests have broken out across the US in response to the killings of black Americans at the hands of police. Demonstrations have also erupted in the UK and other countries in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and in protest at these countries’ own domestic cases of institutional racism. These protests are happening in the middle of a pandemic, which raises issues regarding the spread of the virus, and also highlights deep inequalities due to structural racism and its effects on people’s health. Although health authorities rightly discourage congregations of people, these protests may be the only way for the systemically disenfranchised to have their voices heard.