Thousands of protesters gathered outside the U.S. Embassy in London, parks in Nottingham and around historic memorials in Bristol on Sunday to condemn police brutality after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Amidst media criticism and racially motivated mockery online, protesters bravely took to the streets - some wearing face masks - to protect against COVID-19 bearing the slogan “racism is a virus”.
On Saturday, thousands of protesters had gathered in central London in a demonstration that was peaceful but that ended with small numbers of people clashing with mounted police near Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Downing Street residence.
London Police chief Cressida Dick said 27 officers had been injured in “shocking and completely unacceptable” assaults during anti-racism protests in central London this week, including 14 on Saturday. Her comments follow an earlier statement where the Police Chief declared that black people were not unfairly targeted by the police.
Both Dick and health minister Matt Hancock failed to make any impact as they appealed for protesters not to gather in London again on Sunday due to the risk of the spread of the coronavirus. Thousands ignored this to pack the road outside the embassy on the south bank of the River Thames.
“It just needs to stop now,” said 17-year-old student Chaniya La Rose who was at the protest with her family. “It shouldn’t have to be this hard to be equal.”
There have been global demonstrations over police treatment of black people, sparked by the death of Floyd, a black American man, on May 25 in Minneapolis. A white police officer detaining him knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
The London protest was peaceful, with people clapping, taking to one knee, waving placards and chanting “George Floyd” and “the UK is not innocent”.
Pauline Nandoo, 60, said she had been protesting about the issue of racism since the 1970s and the images of violence at the end of Saturday’s protest had not deterred her.
“There’s children of all ages and older adults here,” said Nandoo, who was with her brother and 13-year-old daughter. “They are going to experience what we have experienced and we have to try to make that not happen.”
Edit: M Powell
Original source: Reuters UK