Priti Patel says she does not support 'dreadful' BLM protests

Credit: PA

Home Secretary Priti Patel has described the Black Lives Matter (BLM) demonstrations as "dreadful" as she condemned taking the knee as a protest against racism.

Ms Patel said she did not support the anti-racism protests that were sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, USA, on May 25 last year who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.

She said she would not take a knee – an act of solidarity against racism carried out more widely in the wake of Mr Floyd’s death – which has since been adopted by many sports stars and other public figures.

Star Wars actor John Boyega gave a powerful speech at a BLM protest rally in Hyde Park, London, in memory of George Floyd. Credit: Victoria Jones/PA

The Home Secretary told LBC radio: “Last summer was quite a moment with all the protest that we saw taking place.

“We saw policing as well coming under a great deal of pressure from some of the protest. I don’t support protest and I also did not support the protests that were associated…”

Interrupted, she sought to clarify that she was not criticising the right to protest but rather the “dreadful” action last year.

Premier League footballers are also taking the knee in protest against racism. Credit: PA

Asked if she would take a knee, Ms Patel said: “No, I would not. I would not have at the time either.

“There are other ways in which people can express their opinions. Protesting in the way in which people did last summer was not the right way at all.”

Asked if she agrees with the gesture more generally, she replied: “No.”

Aba Amoah, who leads the action group Justice For Black Lives, said she felt "upset" by Ms Patel's comments because "it just shows little change has come from last year, which is a shame".

  • Aba Amoah reacts to Priti Patel's comments on Black Lives Matter:

She continued: "But I always say that protesting is so essential because the power of the people is greater than the people in power."

She also said: "I think that Priti Patel's comments were an attack on Black Lives Matter. It proves really how our government is threatened by our political action.

"The movement challenges the white supremacy, patriarchal, ableist, capitalism of today, but giving a voice to black, brown, working class Brits, and this is not what our government, in particular the Conservative government wants, because it is a threat to wealth and power."