Activists filled Parliament Square in the British capital on Saturday, defying government and police calls that people should stay home to limit the spread of Covid-19.
The crowds came together to sing the name of Floyd and “Black Lives Matter”, at one point all taking one knee in unison.
“I feel that what happened in the United States was only a spark, which sparked everywhere … I think George Floyd’s death has caused the whole world and I think it’s incredible,” a protester told CNN. “It is a worldwide problem, no matter where you are. It is a problem everywhere, we all have to raise ourselves,” added another.
And it comes despite politicians’ warnings that mass meetings should not take place while the country is in a state of blockade. “I fully understand people’s desire to express their views and have the right to protest, but the fact is that we are in a health pandemic across the UK,” said UK home secretary Priti Patel on Saturday. during an interview with Sky News.
“I would say to those who want to protest, please don’t do it,” he added.
While a short social distance was observed at the demonstration, free masks and gloves were distributed to protect the demonstrators from the spread of the virus.
According to the metropolitan police, the streets in Parliament Square were closed “to protect both demonstrators and vehicles” entering the area; while there is a substantial police presence, the agents did not wear protective riot gear.
Meanwhile, in Paris, a similar meeting took place on Saturday.
There, protesters carried placards with the words “Justice for George Floyd” and “Racism is also a pandemic” as they formed crowds outside the American embassy.
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