LONDON: Tens of thousands took to the streets of London on Sunday, rallying for a second day running to condemn police brutality after the killing of an unarmed black man George Floyd in United States city of Minneapolis.
Thousands gathered in central London on Saturday in a demonstration that was peaceful but ended with small numbers of people clashing with police near Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Downing Street residence.
London police chief Cressida Dick said 27 officers had been injured in “shocking and completely unacceptable” assaults during anti-racism protests over the past week. Two were seriously hurt and an officer who fell from her horse underwent surgery.
Police had urged protesters not to gather in London again on Sunday, warning they risked spreading COVID-19. The demonstrators still packed the road outside the US Embassy on the south bank of the River Thames with some wearing face masks with the slogan “Racism is a virus”.
Protesters later marched across the river towards parliament and Downing Street, pausing on the bridge to go down on one knee and chant: “Justice, now!” In Parliament Square, many attached their placards to the railings outside parliament.
The death of Floyd has sparked demonstrations around the world over police treatment of ethnic minorities. A white police officer detaining him knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
The protest in London on Sunday was largely peaceful as people waved placards and chanted: “George Floyd!” and “The UK is not innocent!”
Some protesters clashed with police outside the Foreign Office after one man was arrested. They threw bottles and flares and chanted: “Black lives matter!” as they tried to push through a line of riot police.
British Prime Minister Johnson said that while people had the right to protest peacefully. “They are a betrayal of the cause they purport to serve. Those responsible will be held to account,” he said on Twitter.
Police said 29 people had been arrested during Saturday’s protest in London for offences including violent disorder while a further 12 people were arrested on Sunday in central London.