Anti-racism protests in UK as officers face court in US over George Floyd death
Anti-racism demonstrations have taken place across the UK as the four officers charged over the death of George Floyd in the US go on trial.
Protesters said they are determined to show that previous Black Lives Matter demonstrations were not just “a moment”.
Mass protests were staged across the world after footage emerged of officers kneeling on the neck of Mr Floyd, a black man, as he died.
The four men are charged over the death but it is understood they will push for separate trials in order to diminish their roles in the incident.
Socially distanced events took place outside the US embassy in London as well as in Manchester and Leeds, with protesters gathering in an act of solidarity against institutionalised racism.
Those involved were encouraged to “take the knee”, which has become a symbol of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Around 40 people gathered outside the US embassy, where the flag was flown at half mast to mark the anniversary of 9/11.
Protesters carried placards bearing slogans including “Racism is not born, it is taught. End systemic racism,” while passing motorists sounded their horns in solidarity.
Brian Richardson, a barrister and member of the Stand Up To Racism steering committee, said that racism in the UK also needed to be “called out”.
“We wanted to come here and show our solidarity and continuing support for the family of George Floyd and the fight for justice,” he told the PA news agency.
“The atmosphere is one of determination because I think a lot of people wondered whether the extraordinary outburst we saw in the first week (of the protests) was just a moment.
“We’re determined to show it’s not a moment and we’re going to continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and all the victims of injustice in America, but also to call out racism in this country.”
“Black Lives Matter is a global movement and we’re going to stand with our sisters and brothers in America, which is fantastically important.”
Stand Up To Racism co-convener Weyman Bennett added that the UK was “facing a crossroads”.
“We stand with those facing racist harassment and violence at police hands,” she said.
“In Britain, the massively disproportionate use of stop and search under section 60 against black people must end.
“We face a crossroads in fighting racism and discrimination that has killed thousands who are disproportionately killed by police in our communities, and are disproportionately affected in Covid-19 deaths due to institutionalised racism.
“This is not a moment, this is a movement.
“No more black people killed by the police, no more inequality justified by racist lies.
“No more divide and rule by the rich and powerful who use racism as a tool to defend inequality in society.
“We need change and we need it now, in fact we demand it.”