Black Lives Matter UK latest news: Protesters deface Churchill statue and try to BURN Union Flag in London – The Sun

POLICE were chased through the streets of London and pictured bleeding yesterday after yobs hurled fireworks and other objects at them as the Black Lives Matter demonstration turned violent.

Brits were protesting against racism and police brutality after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

In Parliament Square the statue of Churchill was defaced as thousands of people marched despite being warned of spreading coronavirus.

One yob tried to burn a Union Flag at the Cenotaph using a lighter.

About 10,000 people also gathered in Bristol with videos on social media showing protesters using ropes to tear down the statue of slave trader Edward Colston.

Police stood aside as protesters stamped on the statue, defaced it and then rolled it through the streets and into the harbour.

Avon and Somerset police have began an investigation into criminal damage.

Boris Johnson said last night anti-racism demonstrations had been “subverted by thuggery”.

The PM wrote on Twitter: “People have a right to protest peacefully 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.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it was “undoubtedly a risk” there would be an increase in cases of Covid-19 because it was impossible for the protesters to social distance.

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  • BORIS: 'UK NOT RACIST'

    Boris Johnson does not think the UK is a racist country, his spokesman has said.

    The comments come after a weekend of mass anti-racism protests in major cities across Britain.

    The spokesman said: “The PM doesn’t doubt that that there continues to be discrimination and racism – but does not agree that this is a racist country.

    “We have made very significant progress on this issue but there remains more to do.

    “We will not be complacent in our efforts to stamp out racism and discrimination where it happens.”

  • JOSHUA HITS OUT

    WORLD heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has hit back at critics of his speech at a Black Lives protest saying “If you think I'm a racist, go f*** yourself”.

    The boxer, 30, gave an impassioned speech at a demonstration in his home town of Watford on Saturday.

    Using pal Reece Campbell's words, he said protesters were the vaccine to the virus of racism.

    The fighter said: “The virus has been declared a pandemic, it is out of control. And I'm not talking about Covid-19. The virus I'm referring to is called racism. We need to speak out. We need to be united.”

    In an expletive-laden riposte to those who questioned his intentions on social media, Joshua vowed to make good on his promise to help turn the talking into action.

    Joshua wrote: “'If you think I'm a racist, go f*** yourself! If you watch the full video, the speech was passed around for someone to read and I took the lead.  

    “I personally spoke from the heart about the Watford community, ideas of us personally investing 7 figures to create unity and opportunities and adding change to the African/Caribbean community.

    “I said what I said and I will act to make change.”

  • 'THEY DID NOTHING'

    A PROTESTER who led the slave trader statue toppling in Bristol yesterday cannot believe the police “did nothing”.

    John McAllister, 71, a former university research assistant, said he “set the spark” for the toppling of the Edward Colston statue where demonstrators dumped it into the harbour.

    Mr McAllister said the watching cops could easily have intervened in the “dangerous” situation by breaking up the “very peaceful” crowd.

    He said: “I guess I'm the guy who kicked it off. The police did nothing. I saw some of them there, but they didn't lift a finger. It was so dangerous. The first duty of the police is to protect the health and lives of the public, but they did nothing.”

    The protester said the dumping of the statue in the harbour was spontaneous.

    He said: “It was covered in a sort of huge black cloth. I knew the plaque was at the bottom so I tore off the black covering and shouted to the crowd about the inscription. It says Teddy Colston was a virtuous and wise son of Bristol, but the man was a slave trader.

    “I said 'this is an insult to our city'. People around me agreed, and they quickly tore off the whole shroud and started climbing over the statue.

    “Then people wanted to tear it  down.”

    Read the story here

  • COP OUT

    The head of the Metropolitan Police Federation has called on bosses to apologise for failing to protect officers injured in anti-racism protests.

    Ken Marsh, the chairman of the organisation that represents rank-and-file officers, said: “Enough is enough.

    “I shall be calling for urgent action from the Commissioner. And we would expect an official apology from senior leaders to our members for being frankly offered up like this.”

    Mr Marsh said police should be dealing with disorder “far more robustly”, adding: “We need to have the correct equipment on to deal with what is in front of us.

    “Our leaders have to respond and kit us up correctly and make sure we are fully prepared for what is taking place.

    “If bottles and fireworks are being thrown at our police officers, we should have public order equipment on. No ifs. No buts.

    “Our colleagues' safety should be of paramount importance to our police leaders.”

  • 'THEY WERE WILLING TO PAY THE PRICE'

    Shadow justice secretary David Lammy has compared those who toppled the Colston monument to followers of Martin Luther King and the suffragettes.

    He told ITV's Good Morning Britain: “I'm quite sure that those young people who brought that statue down knew that they would be facing the law but that was a price they were willing to pay and there are many examples throughout history, from Martin Luther King to Harvey Milk, who protested on behalf of gay rights.”

  • FLAG BURNING

    A Black Lives Matter protester tried to burn a Union Flag at the Cenotaph as peaceful demonstrations in London turned ugly.

    The yob was filmed using a lighter to set the flag alight as it draped off the iconic memorial to Britain’s war dead in Westminster.

    During the short clip others can be heard telling her “get down” as she stands on the memorial’s plinth.

    But the protester ignores the pleas and another member of the crowd tries to rip the flag down before riot police quickly move in and form a barrier around the monument.

    It is not clear whether the woman was arrested for the attempted vandalism but there are minor skirmishes as the officers ward off the protesters.

    Read the story here

  • COLSTON STATUE WAS AN ‘AFFRONT’

    The Labour Mayor of Bristol said the Edward Colston statue was an “affront” and an “insult” to black people.

    Marvin Rees explained that he did not condone the tearing down of the statue, after it was thrown into the River Avon by Black Lives Matter protesters.

    But said: “I'm the mixed race child of a Welsh-English white woman and a black Jamaican father,” he told BBC Breakfast.

    “One of my ancestors would have been taken on a ship from Africa to the Caribbean.

    “That statue is an affront to me and there's a plaque on it as well that describes him as a 'wise and virtuous son', so that's a double insult.

    “It's not something that I as a Bristolian would have looked on with pride and it had been a point of debate in the city.”

  • PROTESTS 'SUBVERTED BY THUGGERY' SAYS PM

    Boris Johnson tweeted: “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.”

  • YOBS HURL FIREWORKS AND CHASE COPS

    Cops were chased through the streets of London yesterday by Black Lives Matter protestors as peaceful demonstrations turned violent.

    Police officers were pictured bleeding after yobs hurled fireworks and other objects at them.

    Video footage on social media shows a group of officers being surrounded by a masked mob forcing them to flee as glass bottles and other projectiles were thrown at them.

    Other images show a police officer with blood pouring down his face as colleagues treat him on the pavement.

    Sunday's protests, which were spoiled by a small number of thugs, took place outside the US Embassy.

    They were in a response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month.

    Activists in face masks were seen holding placards reading “I can't breathe”, echoing the final words of George Floyd after Derek Chauvin held him down by kneeling on his neck for nine minutes.

    Others have taken a kneel in solidarity with those of who have accused the police of brutality across the globe.

    The crowd also broke out into chants of “enough is enough”.

    Images from last night show cops and protesters clashing near Whitehall.

  • BIRMINGHAM PROTESTS

    Thousands have gathered in Birmingham today to protest.

    The demonstration in Birmingham started in Centenary Square, outside the library, at 16:00 BST.

  • REMEMBERED

    George Floyd's brother, Terrence Floyd, will lead a memorial prayer service and march in Brooklyn, New York

    The march will start at Brooklyn's Cadman Plaza Park before marching across the Brooklyn Bridge.

  • FLOYD’S BROTHER SLAMS LOOTERS

    George Floyd's brother has pleaded with looters to stop as destroying their hometowns “disrespects his name and legacy”.

    Speaking after the decision was made to charge all four officers involved in the arrest death, Terrence Floyd addressed the widespread looting and protests.

    “Don't do it in the name of George Floyd,” he said during a press conference, “you're disrespecting his legacy. If you want to chant peacefully you can do so. But don't do it in the name of George Floyd.”

    Terrence also met with NYPD Police Commissioner to “begin conversations”.

    Read more here.

  • MEGHAN BREAKS SILENCE ON FLOYD

    MEGHAN Markle has spoken out over George Floyd’s death saying “the only wrong thing to say is to say nothing”.

    Speaking in a heartfelt video message to the graduating class of her former high school, the Duchess said: “I wasn’t sure what I could say to you. I wanted to say the right thing and I was really nervous that it would get picked apart.

    “And I realised the only wrong thing to say is to say nothing.

    “Because George Floyd’s life mattered and Breonna Taylor’s life mattered and Philando Castile’s life mattered and Tamir Rice’s life mattered… and so did so many other people whose names we know and whose names we do not know.”

    Read more here.

  • 90 ARRESTED IN NYC PROTESTS OVERNIGHT

    At least 90 people were arrested during protests in New York overnight, according to the city’s police.

    NYPD Chief of Department Terrance Monahan said the night had been relatively peaceful with no looting.

    He said: “We are one with the protestors.

    “We are out there for a justified cause but not with the people who want to cause mayhem to our city.”

    The arrest number is far lower than on Tuesday night, when at least 280 people were arrested, cops said.

  • DEFUNDING THE NYPD BECOMES HOT TOPIC

    After a week of peaceful protests punctuated with looting and violence in New York City, reports say officials will be facing a budget battle at City Hall after George Floyd's death.

    The pressure on NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio to cut the NYPD’s $6 billion budget is increasing as demonstrators and politicians demand he take action following Floyd's arrest in the state of Minnesota.

    The budget is due at the end of June and the mayor had previously proposed slashing $2 billion, which impacts mainly social service agencies, reported NY1.

    “For folks who say defund the police, I would say that is not the way forward,” de Blasio said. “We have a challenge in these next weeks as we go into the summer: both, how do we physically do it while we're still dealing with the pandemic?

    “And, also, how do we pay for it? We're in the worst fiscal crisis this city has seen in generations.”

    But Police Commissioner Dermot Shea has backed the force and condemned the violence and destruction sweeping the city on Twitter this week.

    “The widespread criminal activity that we’re witnessing at night has nothing to do with the peaceful protests we’re standing with during the day,” Shea tweeted. “This senseless looting is organized by bad-actors using a worthy cause as cover.

  • GEORGE FLOYD PROTESTER 'HIT WITH TEAR GAS CANISTER'

    A George Floyd protester in Michigan appeared to be blasted in the face with tear gas after being maced by cops.

    The alleged attack occurred in Grand Rapids on Saturday, prompting social media outrage and a police investigation after a video of it was posted on Twitter and Instagram.

    “Some people were lighting fireworks, that were going straight up, because we have a point to make,” one witness James Curley told Fox 17. “Black Lives Matter. Police brutality needs to stop.”

    “[The man in the video] walked up to police to express his freedom of speech. The cop stepped up to him and pepper-sprayed him. Completely no threat after that.”

    Although the majority of protesters were peaceful last Saturday, a group rioted in the Downtown area of Grand Rapids, setting cars on fire, smashing windows and looting until the early hours of Sunday morning, reports said.

    Local cops reportedly arrested seven during the riots, roughly 100 businesses were damaged in the chaos, seven cop cars were set on fire, along with three buildings.

  • taketheknee: THOUSANDS ACROSS THE UK JOIN PEACEFUL PROTEST

    Thousands of people across the UK took a knee at 6pm on Wednesday evening in peaceful protest following the death of George Floyd.

    The display, organised by the charity Stand Up To Racism, is the latest from the Black Lives Matter movement since the black 46-year-old died in US police custody on May 25.

    Rev Alan Green told the PA news agency he knelt outside his Church of St John in Bethnal Green, east London, in “solidarity and commitment” to defeating racism in society.

    “By standing together, across ethnicities, cultures and identities, we affirm our common opposition to racists and prevent fragmentation between different sections of our communities,” Mr Green added.

    Along with demonstrations in public spaces, some of which occurred as part of marches in London, Belfast and other cities, many of those taking part knelt on their front doorstep.

    Marisol Grandon, 41, was joined by her partner, eight-year-old daughter Iona Keith and son Oran Keith, 12, outside her home in Hackney, east London.

    “It feels good to do that, even though it's very little,” said Iona.

    Oran added: “It started off weird – but I was glad I did it.

    “It makes me feel happy so many people around the world are doing this. It made me feel like part of a bigger whole.”

    Some voiced disappointment they were not joined by more people, including Nadine Batchelor-Hunt in Manchester, who compared the display to the Clap For Carers displays which have taken place on Thursdays during the coronavirus pandemic.

    “People came outside to show their solidarity and love for the NHS,” the 26-year-old journalist said.

    “It would have been nice to see the country do that for black people right now… particularly given how many black NHS staff have died during Covid.”

  • BARACK OBAMA CALLS FOR POLICE REFORM IN WAKE OF PROTESTS

    Barack Obama has urged every American mayor to review and reform their police department's use-of-force policies in consultation with their communities.

    The country's first black president also struck a note of optimism, even as he acknowledged the despair and anger powering the protests since the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in police custody nine days ago.

    “In some ways, as tragic as these last few weeks have been, as difficult and scary and uncertain as they've been, they've also been an incredible opportunity for people to be awakened to some of these underlying trends,” he said via live stream from his home in Chicago.

    “And they offer an opportunity for us to all work together to tackle them, to take them on, to change America and make it live up to its highest ideals.”

    He also directly addressed young Americans of colour, telling them: “I want you to know that you matter, I want you to know that your lives matter, that your dreams matter.”

  • FLORIDA OFFICER WHO PUSHED PROTESTER PREVIOUSLY INVESTIGATED FOR ALLEGED USE OF FORCE – REPORT

    A police officer who was suspended for pushing a kneeling black woman to the ground at a George Floyd demonstration in Florida has been under review numerous times for pointing guns and using force on suspects, and at least once for racial profiling, a review of his personnel files shows.

    The files, obtained by The Associated Press in response to an open records request, also reflect that Fort Lauderdale Police Officer Steven Pohorence received several commendations over the years for helping people in need and was named Trooper of the Month once while employed by the Florida Highway Patrol.

    Video of Pohorence pushing the woman to the ground on Sunday was shared widely on social media as protests against police violence and racial injustice erupted across the country.

    Most of the files that detail Pohorence's scrutinised encounters with suspects do not specify the suspects' race, and none of the incidents, all of which were reviewed by Internal Affairs, resulted in disciplinary action.

    Investigators concluded there weren't any department policy violations, according to reports in the files.

    The South Florida Sun Sentinel first reported that Pohorence had been investigated in the past for alleged use of force.

    On two occasions, according to the files the AP obtained, Pohorence and other officers pointed their guns at women suspected of driving stolen cars while their children were in the back, records said. Both women were released after officers cleared up the confusion.

  • FORMER US DEFENCE SECRETARY SAYS TRUMP IS A 'THREAT TO THE CONSTITUTION'

    A former US Defence Secretary who resigned over Donald Trump's policy on Syria in 2018 has launched a scathing attack on the president's handling of protests sweeping across the country.

    Writing an article for The Atlantic, James Mattis accused the White House of “making a mockery of the Constitution” – and accused Mr Trump of pitting Americans against each othet

    He wrote: “The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values—our values as people and our values as a nation.

    “We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution.

    “Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us.

    “We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society.

    “This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.”

  • MINNEAPOLIS POLICE RELEASE MUGSHOT OF DEREK CHAUVIN

  • GEORGE FLOYD MEMORIAL SERVICES TO TAKE PLACE IN THREE CITIES OVER SIX DAYS

    Memorial services to honour George Floyd will take place in three cities over six days, with a chance for mourners to pay their respects in the communities where he was born, grew up, and died.

    The first service will be Thursday afternoon at North Central University in Minneapolis.

    Civil Rights leader, Reverend Al Sharpton, founder of the National Action Network, and Ben Crump, the Floyd family lawyer, will speak at the service.

    Mr Floyd's body will then go to Raeford, North Carolina, where he was born 46 years ago, for a two-hour public viewing and private service for the family on Saturday.

    Finally, a public viewing will be held Monday in Houston, where he was raised and lived most of his life.

    A 500-person service on Tuesday will take place at The Fountain of Praise church and will include addresses from Mr Sharpton, Mr Crump, and Reverend Remus E. Wright, the Floyd family pastor.

    Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, may attend, and other political figures and celebrities are expected as well. A private burial will follow.

    Both the memorials in Minneapolis and Houston will include personal tributes and eulogies about social justice, Mr Sharpton said.

  • NEW YORK MAYOR SAYS EARLY CURFEW HAS HELPED RESTORE ORDER

    New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says the city “has taken a step forward” in restoring order with the help of an early curfew.

    There was much less widespread plundering of stores Tuesday night amid a huge police presence.

    The citywide curfew continues from 8pm to 5am ET this week, imposed to prevent the nighttime chaos and destruction that followed peaceful protests for several days in a row, and will remain place until Sunday.

    The mayor said: “Last night we took a step forward in moving out of this difficult period we've had the last few days and moving to a better time.”

    He also condemned police for roughing up journalists covering the protests, adding: “There should be no condition under which any journalist is detained by the police of this city or any city in the United States of America, period.”

    Police say they arrested about 280 people on protest-related charges Tuesday, compared with 700 the previous night.

    New York State Govenor Andrew Cuomo, who was critical of the prior police response, says the city was much better and officers were better equipped to keep the peace.

  • US POLICE OFFICERS FACE MAXIMUM JAIL SENTENCE OF 40 YEARS IF CONVICTED

    An updated criminal complaint against Derek Chauvin says the officer's actions were a substantial causal factor in Floyd's death.

    “Officer Chauvin's restraint of Mr. Floyd in this manner for a prolonged period was a substantial causal factor in Mr. Floyd losing consciousness, constituting substantial bodily harm, and Mr Floyd's death as well,” the criminal complaint said.

    The unintentional second-degree murder charge alleges that Chauvin caused Floyd's death without intent while committing another felony offence, namely third-degree assault.

    Charges against the other officers allege they aided and abetted in Chauvin's actions and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said warrants have been issued for their arrests.

    It carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison, compared with a maximum of 25 years for third-degree murder.

    The three other officers – Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao – face the same maximum penalties for aiding and abetting if convicted.

    Speaking at a press conference, Mr Ellison – the lead prosecutor in the George Floyd case – announced the fresh charges against the former officers.

    Mr Ellison said: “I strongly believe that these developments are in the interests of justice for Mr Floyd, his family and the community.

    “We are working together on this case with only one goal – justice for George Floyd.”

    “George Floyd mattered. He was loved, his family was important, his life had value, and we will seek justice for him and for you, and we will find it,” he added.

  • DEMONSTRATORS PULL DOWN BARRIERS OUTSIDE DOWNING STREET

    Protesters pulled down a line of temporary barriers outside Downing Street, while plastic and glass bottles were thrown at the metal gates outside No 10.

    Officers inside No 10 returned the temporary barriers to their original position but retreated back into Downing Street when more bottles were thrown.

    Protesters then picked up the temporary barriers and threw them at the gates of Downing Street, with more objects thrown in the direction of police.

    Some of the temporary barriers were also used by protesters to block off Whitehall.

    A number of police vans then descended on the area.

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