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'We have to speak up' – Israel Adesanya on his passionate speech at Auckland Black Lives Matter march

Israel Adesanya has returned fire at those criticising New Zealand's Black Lives Matter protests, following Kiwis taking to the streets in solidarity with those in the USA last weekend.

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The Kiwi-Nigerian fighter hit back at criticism of New Zealand's Black Lives Matter protests. Source: 1 NEWS

With the United States currently divided over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, thousands of Kiwis turned out last weekend in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Among them was 30-year-old Adesanya, who moved to New Zealand at the age of 10 from his native Nigeria, giving an impassioned speech about his own experiences of racism in his adopted home nation.

The message from New Zealand protestors being that racism and racial targeting of minorities is not exclusive to the United States.

Speaking to 1 NEWS today, Adesanya added his voice to those saying that racism is a problem that New Zealand has to confront.

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The Kiwi UFC champ says racism is an issue in New Zealand. Source: 1 NEWS

"It is our problem," Adesanya said.

"The narrative I keep hearing is 'Why are you bringing this to NZ, it's not our problem.'

"Some of the Facebook comments, the NZ Herald comments section. I have to turn it off, I had to drop my phone a little bit yesterday.

"For someone like me or someone with a heart, it's depressing. You just constantly see violence and violence and violence and violence.

"It's like 'right, I'm over this.' But then you have to pick it back up as well. You have to be active with what the narrative is. So that's what I'm trying to do.

"I didn't even want to speak. I was just standing there quietly.

"Initially I was like 'nah', I didn't want to make it about me.

"But it is about me, it's about you, it's about us. So we have to speak up and take action."