Hundreds join peaceful Black Lives Matter protests in Carlisle and Dumfries

Credit: ITV Border

Hundreds of people attended anti-racism demonstrations in Carlisle and Dumfries this weekend despite warnings from ministers that mass gatherings are banned.

Worldwide protests over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis are heading into their second weekend amid public anger at police over his death.

Unarmed African American Mr Floyd died after a white police officer held him down by pressing a knee into his neck in Minneapolis on May 25.

Black Lives Matter protesters, the majority wearing masks and face coverings, gathered at near to the Old Town Hall in Carlisle on Saturday (June 6) chanting 'I can't breathe.'

On Sunday (June 7) a similar demonstration was held by the Midsteeple in Dumfries town centre.

At both events, organisers placed markings on the floor and encouraged social distancing.

Masks were also given out to those who didn't bring their own.

Credit: ITV Border

Protesters have vowed the protest will be peaceful after a previous demonstration in London saw thirteen people arrested amid physical clashes with police.

More protests taking place in cities including Manchester, Leicester, Sheffield, while Washington in the US is bracing for its biggest demonstration so far.

Organisers are urging protesters to keep demonstrations peaceful this weekend and those attending are being asked to adhere to social distancing.

Professor John Edmunds, who attends meetings of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) supporting the government, said people attending should be “very careful”, wear face masks and observe social distancing rules.

It follows a warning from Health Secretary Matt Hancock at the government's daily coronavirus press conference that "we’re still facing a health crisis and coronavirus remains a real threat".

He said people should remember the rules, that they “should not attend large gatherings, including demonstrations, of more than six people”.

Mr Hancock admitted being "appalled" by the man's death at the hands of a police officer, but stressed "it is vital that people stick to the rules this weekend is to protect themselves and their family from this horrific disease".

Home Secretary Priti Patel posted on Twitter, urging people not to gather in groups larger than six, "for the safety of all of us".

In the US tensions have boiled over between protesters and police and social distancing will not be possible in many US cities where hundreds of thousands are expected to attend.

Officials in Washington DC are expecting between 100,000 and 200,000 protesters on Saturday.

Protests were sparked after video footage showed Mr Floyd gasping that he cannot breathe while being arrested by four officers in Minneapolis, before being pronounced dead.

They have since been charged over the death which sparked days of protest in the US and Black Lives Matter (BLM) demonstrations across the world.