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Whitehall

Tensions flare between mounted police and Black Lives Matter protesters in London

Protests were held in London, Manchester, Cardiff, Sheffield and Newcastle today.

Sky News / YouTube

THOUSANDS OF BRITISH people have taken part in Black Lives Matter protests across the UK – with a gathering in London leading to some tensions with police. 

A large protest has gathered outside at Whitehall this evening – with the crowd chanting “Boris Johnson is a racist”.

At one point, mounted police galloped through the crowd; objects appear to have then been thrown at the mounted police, and a riot-gear unit advanced to control the crowd.

Scenes captured after the incident indicate that things had quietened, but tensions have flared up between Black Lives Matter protesters and police during the week.

Many protesters wore masks and social distancing measures were encouraged during events in London, Manchester, Cardiff, Sheffield and Newcastle, among other cities.

Yesterday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned people against joining the demonstrations this weekend, pointing out “we’re still facing a health crisis and coronavirus remains a real threat”.

Despite this, people gathered in their thousands to show solidarity with those in the US campaigning against police brutality following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

They also highlighted incidents when black and ethnic minority people in Britain have been victims of racial discrimination and violence at the hands of police and others.

In a speech shared online, 30-year-old Joshua told people in Watford: “We can no longer sit back and remain silent on this senseless, unlawful killings and sly racism on another human being – based on what? Only their skin colour.”  

In London, most demonstrators who gathered in Parliament Square earlier this afternoon wore masks and face coverings, with some opting for gloves.

Placards carried by demonstrators referenced the coronavirus crisis, with one saying: “There is a virus greater than Covid-19 and it’s called racism.”

As the rally began, one organiser used a megaphone to tell the crowds: “We are not here for violence. Today is sheer positivity, today is sheer love.”

black-lives-matter-protests A horse runs through the crowd following a police-on-horseback charge during a Black Lives Matter protest. Yui Mok Yui Mok

Protester Bobbi, 26, from Chingford, London, who did not give her last name, 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.”

Thousands of protesters packed central Manchester. They chanted and clapped in unison and held home-made placards bearing the initials BLM.

Several hundred marchers gathered in Newcastle, while thousands more watched an online protest organised in the north-east of England.

In Sheffield, hundreds of people gathered on Devonshire Green to protest and hold a minute’s silence.

Meanwhile, an online protest organised by ‘Stand Up To Racism – North East’ drew an audience of several thousand, who listened to speakers including Janet Alder, whose brother Christopher died in police custody in Hull in 1998.

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