HomeNewsLatest NewsPM Johnson Fumes At Anti-Racism Protest After Police Clash With Protesters

PM Johnson Fumes At Anti-Racism Protest After Police Clash With Protesters

Then in Parliament Square, the statue of Sir Winston Churchill was sprayed with graffiti, and a Black Lives Matter sign attached - an act described as "stupid and counterproductive" by foreign office minister James Cleverly.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said anti-racism protests during the weekend were “subverted by thuggery” following a major clash between the police and some demonstrators while adding that protesting was the people’s right but being violent during the protest was a betrayal to the cause for which they protest.

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The weekend saw thousands of people peacefully demonstrating in cities across the UK, but unrest in London on Sunday injured eight officers and 12 protesters were arrested. Police in Bristol said it will investigate “criminal damage” of a statue of Edward Colston, a prominent 17th Century slave trader which was pulled down by protesters.

Metropolitan Police’s Supt Jo Edwards said following a “predominantly peaceful protest” in the capital, officers had to deal with “scenes of violence and disorder” which were “entirely unacceptable”.

Boris Johnson has openly condemned the violence, in a Tweet he said: “People have a right to protest peacefully & while observing social distancing but they have no right to attack the police. These demonstrations have been subverted by thuggery – and they are a betrayal of the cause they purport to serve. Those responsible will be held to account.”

The protest which saw a large turnout took place on Saturday and Sunday in London, Bristol, Manchester, Wolverhampton, Nottingham, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

At first, the protests were completely peaceful, with footage showing thousands of demonstrators flooding the roads outside the US embassy in Vauxhall, south London, before marching towards Parliament Square and Downing Street.

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Towards evening time, police in riot gear positioned themselves to contain a small group of protesters in Westminster, as bottles were thrown at officers and police issued a Section 35 dispersal order for the City of Westminster, in place from Sunday evening until 06:00 on Monday, insisting that people must leave the area.

 

PM Johnson Fumes At Anti-Racism Protest After Police Clash With Protesters - SurgeZirc UK
Protesters across the UK / Photo credit: BBC

In Warwickshire, protesters prompted the closure of the M6 for about an hour following on from the demonstrations in Coventry city centre.

John Apter, national chairman of the Police Federation, said while he understood there was “an awful lot of anger and frustration” his “concern and sadness” was that the “legitimate message” of the protests had been “hijacked by some who are intent on violence” against police.

Slave trader’s statue torn down

One of the remarkable events of Sunday protest was protesters in Bristol using ropes to pull down the bronze statue of Colston, who has always caused controversy in the city for many years, his legacy can still be seen on Bristol’s streets, memorials and buildings.

After they successfully pulled the statue down a protester was photographed with his knee on the status’ neck, reminiscent of the video showing George Floyd, the black man who died with a white Minnesota police officer’s knee on his neck.

The protesters further dragged the status through the streets of Bristol and threw it into the harbour. The empty plinth was used as a makeshift stage for protesters.

PM Johnson Fumes At Anti-Racism Protest After Police Clash With Protesters - SurgeZirc UK
Sir Winston Churchill / Photo credit: BBC

Then in Parliament Square, the statue of Sir Winston Churchill was sprayed with graffiti, and a Black Lives Matter sign attached – an act described as “stupid and counterproductive” by foreign office minister James Cleverly.

Opposition MPs have openly criticised comments made by Health Secretary Matt Hancock that protests were fuelled by events in America “rather than here”.

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Shadow justice secretary David Lammy said that racism and prejudice exist in the UK, as well as across the Atlantic, and that to suggest there is only a problem in the US “shows real ignorance”.

Mr Lammy tweeted: “People in this country are not only showing solidarity with George Floyd and other African Americans. We must turn this moment into one of change and justice in the UK too.”

PM Johnson Fumes At Anti-Racism Protest After Police Clash With Protesters - SurgeZirc UK
Thousands of anti-racism protesters across the UK / Photo credit: BBC
ViaBBC
Alice Campbell for SurgeZirc UK
Alice Campbell for SurgeZirc UK
Alice Campbell is a highly skilled and experienced royal writer, currently working with SurgeZirc UK. With a passion for journalism and a keen interest in the royal family, Alice has established herself as a prominent figure in the field.
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