“From Minnesota to Kirkcaldy, Black Lives Matter!” was the chant outside the Sheku Bayoh Inquiry at Capital House in Edinburgh this morning.

Bayoh, a 31-year-old man, originally from Sierra Leone, died in Kirkcaldy in 2015, following an incident in which he was restrained by police officers.

Anti-racism campaigners compare the circumstances of his death to those of George Floyd, who was, notoriously, murdered by a Minneapolis police officer exactly two years ago tomorrow.

Following the decision by the Lord Advocate for Scotland not to bring charges against any of the police officers involved in Bayoh’s death, the dead man’s family and their supporters have campaigned tirelessly. The result is the current public inquiry, which is chaired by Lord Bracadale and is expected to last until 2024, at the earliest.

The protest vigil outside of yesterday’s inquiry hearing marked the day that former PC Nicole Short - one of the officers involved in the events that led to Bayoh’s death - was due to give testimony.

Mindful that their protest came on the eve of the second anniversary of George Floyd’s death, around 50 protestors - including members of campaign group Stand Up to Racism and a number of Scotland’s trade unions - took the knee in remembrance of both Bayoh and Floyd.

Arriving at the hearing with Sheku Bayoh’s mother Aminata Bayoh and his sister Kadi Johnson, the Bayoh family’s lawyer Aamer Anwar told the vigil: “Sheku has been described as ‘Scotland’s George Floyd’.

“George Floyd had one police officer restraining him. People should know that up to seven police officers were involved in the restraint of Sheku Bayoh.”

Anwar also commented on the descriptions of Bayoh that came from within Police Scotland following Bayoh’s death. “He was described as of ‘superhuman’ strength, a ‘big, black male’, the ‘biggest male’ that a police officer said she had ever seen.

“Sheku was, in fact, 5’10”. He weighed 12 stone, 10 pounds, which is 80 kilogrammes. The combined weight of the seven restraint officers was around 630 kilogrammes.”

The insistence that Bayoh had “superhuman” strength was repeated today at the inquiry by former PC Short, who told the hearing that, during the incident that led to Bayoh’s death, she feared for her life.

Addressing the protestors, Anwar described the circumstances in which Bayoh died. Those circumstances are now part of the public record, and are etched into the minds of his loved ones.

Within 32 seconds of the police arriving on the scene - following reports of a black man behaving erratically and carrying a knife - Bayoh, who at that point had no knife on his person, had been brought to the ground by police officers. He was handcuffed and ankle cuffed, leg restraints were applied to him.

After 13 minutes of being kept prone, in this restraint position, Bayoh was unresponsive. An ambulance was called for him, and he was pronounced dead at hospital.

Following his death, the lawyer told the vigil, Bayoh’s body was found to have, “something like 24 separate lacerations, bruises, a rib broken and cuts to his body.”

Closing his remarks, Anwar said, “the justice system in this country likes to talk about being colour blind.”

However, he commented, Bayoh’s family believe that the colour of his skin was the critical factor in what they believe was “overwhelming force” being used against him.

Following Bayoh’s death his family, “didn’t ask for anything special, they asked for justice”, said the lawyer. “They always said if Sheku broke the law then the police had the right to act, but that any force used had to be reasonable, legitimate and proportionate.”

Before entering the inquiry, Aminata Bayoh gave her thanks to the protestors at the vigil for their continued support and solidarity.

The vigil reflected the breadth of the campaign that has been built to demand justice for Bayoh over the last seven years. There were banners from Stand Up to Racism chapters in Edinburgh and Glasgow, the Strathclyde University branch of the lecturers’ union the UCU, general union Unite and teachers’ union the NASUWT.

Lena Wånggren, president of UCU Scotland, told The National that she was attending the vigil “because Black Lives Matter”. Justice for the Bayoh family, she continued, is part of a wider struggle for racial justice throughout society.

The university sector, she commented, is typical of officialdom when it comes to people in power offering supportive words which are not backed up by action. “Two years ago, following George Floyd’s murder, a lot of universities put out statements about Black Lives Matter and anti-racism, but, so far, they haven’t done anything.”

The official response of university bosses to the Black Lives Matter movement has been “superficial”, says Wånggren. “When black students and black staff in our universities ask for change, it doesn’t come about… You can’t just say something and not do something.”

Such demands for action from many people within Scottish society are what led the Scottish Government to establish the Sheku Bayoh Inquiry. They are also at the heart of the campaign by Bayoh’s family and their supporters.

In the now famous, powerfully symbolic gesture of the Black Lives Matter movement, Ruby Hirsch of Stand Up to Racism called on those attending today's vigil to take the knee in memory of George Floyd and Sheku Bayoh, and in remembrance of all black people who have died in police custody. Campaigners have pledged to hold a series of such vigils in support of Sheku Bayoh’s family throughout the duration of the inquiry.