Black Lives Matter take UK anti-racism demonstrations to door of US embassy as protests continue

Protesters outside the US Embassy in London and in Bristol. Credit: PA

Anti-racism demonstrations are taking place across the UK after police and protesters clashed the day before.

Black Lives Matter (BLM) rallies are taking place outside the US Embassy in London’s Battersea, thousands of people have gathered in Bristol, demonstrations are also taking place in Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as smaller protests in towns and cities across the UK.

Sunday's demonstrations come as violence in the capital on Saturday left 10 police officers injured and 14 people arrested after the Metropolitan Police said the crowd became “angry and intent on violence”.

UK protestors take a knee in solidarity with anti-racism activists in the US. Credit: AP

The London protest was peaceful for much of Saturday afternoon, but disturbances began breaking out at around 6pm.

Superintendent Jo Edwards said police understood “people’s passion to come and let their voice be heard”, adding that most members of the public protested without incident.

However, Supt Edwards said it was”totally unacceptable” that 23 officers had been injured while policing demonstrations in recent days and a “post-event investigation” would take place.

Police were out in significant numbers for the marches and demonstrations through London in protest against police brutality following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Bikes were thrown at mounted police during the clashes Credit: Yui Mok/PA

Scuffles broke out when missiles were thrown at officers wearing protective gear, with mounted police called in to drive some of the demonstrators back along Whitehall.

Video footage appeared to show an officer colliding with a traffic light before their horse ran through a crowd of protesters, sending them scattering.

The Metropolitan Police later confirmed a female officer fell from the horse and had been taken to hospital with multiple broken bones.

Her injuries are not life-threatening.

Photographs showed the officer being treated at the scene as she lay injured on the pavement, while other images showed bikes being thrown at horses.

A man punches a dummy in Donald Trump's likeness during protests in London. Credit: AP

Officers are also “investigating the full circumstances” of the officer’s fall.

The Met said the horse made its own way back to its stables nearby.

Glass and plastic bottles were thrown towards officers along with flares, while graffiti was daubed on nearby buildings, including the Cabinet Office, and a small “BLM” motif was painted on the Cenotaph.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said violence towards police at protests was “completely unacceptable” and gave officers her “full support in tackling disorderly behaviour”.

Protesters placed signs on the fence of the Houses of Parliament Credit: Aaron Chown/PA

Elsewhere, boxing heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua used crutches to join people on a peaceful protest in his home town of Watford.

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

At Friday’s coronavirus news briefing, 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”.

Thousands gathered in Manchester to join the protest Credit: Danny Lawson/PA

But people wanted to show solidarity with campaigners in the US and to highlight 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 said: “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.

“We need to speak out in peaceful demonstrations – just like today, so well done Watford. We must not use a demonstration for selfish motives and turn it into rioting and looting.”

An officer removed his helmet during a minute’s silence in Newcastle Credit: Dr Christina Mobley/PA

Thousands of protesters packed central Manchester chanting and clapping in unison, while several hundred marchers gathered in Newcastle.

And 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.

A online version of Sunday’s London BLM demonstration will be held on Facebook Live from 6pm for those unable to attend in person.

Black Lives Matter protests in London on Saturday. Credit: PA