Published On: Sat, Jun 6th, 2020

London protest: Thousands pack capital in support of Black Lives Matter despite warning | UK | News


Protesters packed into Parliament Square for the Black Lives Matter demonstration following the death of George Floyd. Mr Floyd, 46, who was African American, died after a white police officer held him down by pressing a knee into his neck in Minneapolis on May 25.

His death has sparked protests in the US and around the world.

Demonstrators in Parliament Square carried signs with messages including “black lives matter” and “no justice, no peace”.

Another placard read: “There is a virus greater than Covid-19 and it’s called racism.”

Many of the protesters wore face masks and coverings.

London protest

Thousands of people have taken to the streets in London for an anti-racism rally (Image: SKY)

London protest

Protesters packed into Parliament Square for the Black Lives Matter demonstration following the death of George Floyd (Image: PA)

One demonstrator said there was “definitely the same kind of treatment” of black people in the UK as in the US.

She said: “We’re literally living in the history books, we’re going to be teaching our future children about this, and I want to say I was here to support that.

“The racial injustice that black people and ethnic minority people have had to face over centuries, it has to be done for them.

“I don’t think it should be something that because of what happened to George Floyd, we talk about it now, we have this for a couple of weeks and then to back to our normal lives. Because then what’s the point? It needs to continue.”

READ MORE: Defiance in Britain as police warn against protests in virus crisis

London protest

Demonstrators in Parliament Square carried signs with messages including “black lives matter” and “no justice, no peace” (Image: PA)

Another protester said: “We haven’t really been educated about our history.

“You have to do the research yourself, that’s what I’ve had to do. It should be in schools.

“And it shouldn’t just be about our race, it should be all races.

“I was raised in a white family, so my family didn’t teach me, the school didn’t teach me, so I grew up without a sense of identity.”

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London protest

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was “appalled” by Mr Floyd’s death but urged people not to attend mass gatherings (Image: PA)

Black Lives Matter protests are also taking place in other cities across the UK including Glasgow, Newcastle, Cardiff, Sheffield and Manchester.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was “appalled” by Mr Floyd’s death but urged people not to attend mass gatherings.

Mr Hancock told Friday’s Downing Street press briefing: “Like so many I am appalled by the death of George Floyd and I understand why people are deeply upset but we are still facing a health crisis and coronavirus remains a real threat.

“The reason that it is vital that people stick to the rules this weekend is to protect themselves and their family from this horrific disease.

London protest

Home Secretary Priti Patel also called on people not to gather in groups later than six (Image: PA)

London protest

A further protest is due to take place at the US Embassy in the capital on Sunday (Image: PA)

“So please, for the safety of your loved ones, do not attend large gatherings including demonstrations of more than six people.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel also called on people not to gather in groups later than six.

She tweeted: “Please for the safety of all of us, do not attend large gatherings – including protests – of more than six people this weekend.

“As Matt Hancock said, coronavirus remains a real threat and people must protect themselves and their families from this horrific disease.”

London protest: Crowds have flocked to Parliament Square to chant

People wanted to show solidarity with those in the US (Image: GETTY)

London protest: Many were waving placards in solidarity

Many of the protesters wore face masks and coverings (Image: GETTY)

Speaking on Sky News, she added: “I completely understand people’s desire to express their views and have that right to protest.

“But the fact of the matter is we are in a health pandemic across the UK and coronavirus is a deadly virus.

“Of course I’d say to those that want to protest please don’t.

“The regulations are very clear in terms of gatherings and mass gatherings in particular.

“We must put public health first at this particular time.

“And also I’d say to individuals and even some of the organisers across the community, speak to the police because obviously the police are on the streets today.

“I’ve just had the operational briefing from the Metropolitan Gold Command Team and they want to engage, explain and talk to people so that people, if they do come out, can be kept safe and importantly we can try and stop the spread of this horrendous virus particularly in the community at a time when we’re certainly not out of the woods yet.”

A further protest is due to take place at the US Embassy in the capital on Sunday.



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