Police chased down Whitehall and Cenotaph damaged as 12 arrested at BLM protests

  • london
  • June 8, 2020
  • Comments Off on Police chased down Whitehall and Cenotaph damaged as 12 arrested at BLM protests

Violent clashes erupted at largely peaceful anti-racism protests in London, which saw a police officer on the floor with blood streaming down his face.

Footage shows a mob chasing officers down the streets of Whitehall as they were pelted with bottles, fireworks and smoke bombs at around 9pm. Meanwhile one demonstrator climbed onto The Cenotaph war memorial and tried to set a Union Jack alight.

The crowd – much smaller than earlier in the day – shouted ‘no justice, no peace’ as a police helicopter buzzed overhead. Metropolitan Police superintendent Jo Edwards said it was regrettable that ‘officers were faced with further scenes of violence and disorder following a day of predominantly peaceful protest throughout the capital’.

She added: ‘This is a hugely impassioned movement and we understand the public’s desire to have their voices heard – however it is not right that this passion has turned into violent attacks on officers.’

Yesterday evening Boris Johnson also said: ‘People have a right to protest peacefully and while observing social distancing but they have no right to attack the police. These demonstrations have been subverted by thuggery – and they are a betrayal of the cause they purport to serve. Those responsible will be held to account.’

The Met said 12 people were arrested and eight officers injured during yesterday’s anti-racism demonstrations in central London. Most arrests were related to public order offences while one was made for criminal damage following an incident at the Cenotaph.

To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web
browser that
supports HTML5
video

To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web
browser that
supports HTML5
video

Scotland Yard said 29 people were arrested and 14 officers were injured during clashes between police and protesters the day before.

Thousands have taken to the streets following the death of unarmed black man George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.

His killing sparked both riots and peaceful demonstrations in the United States as people demand an end to police brutality and white supremacy. Since then protests have spread across the world.

A crowd of protesters surrounded the statue of Sir Winston Churchill in Westminster and spray painted ‘was a racist’ under the former Prime Minister’s crossed out name.

One of the demonstrators was on camera saying: ‘He didn’t fight the Nazis for the Commonwealth or for anything else or for any personal freedoms.

To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web
browser that
supports HTML5
video

To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web
browser that
supports HTML5
video

‘He fought the Nazis purely to protect the Commonwealth against the invasion by foreign forces. He didn’t do it for black people or people of colour. He did it purely for colonialism.’

As thousands of people attended Black Lives Matter protests across the UK, a statue of 17th century slave trader Edward Colston was toppled by protesters, dragged down the street and dumped in the harbour.

Home Secretary Priti Patel called the move ‘utterly disgraceful’ and said it had become a ‘distraction from the cause in which people are actually protesting about and trying to empathise and sympathise with.’

Avon and Somerset Police said they had launched an investigation and were seeking to identify those involved with the removal of the statue.

In a statement to the BBC, the Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees said it was ‘important to listen to those who found the statue to represent an affront to humanity’.

To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web
browser that
supports HTML5
video

To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web
browser that
supports HTML5
video

Pop superstar Lewis Capaldi was pictured alongside protesters at Holyrood Park in Edinburgh, while rapper Stormzy joined the rally in the capital.

London Black Lives Matter also organised an online protest of more than 10,000 people via Zoom for those unable to attend the demonstrations in person.

Elsewhere the operational patrol unit of Warwickshire Police tweeted the M6 southbound was temporarily closed soon after 6pm due to pedestrian protesters blocking the carriageway at Junction 3.

In Manchester, hundreds crowded into St Peter’s Square, kneeling in silence as a mark of respect Mr Floyd, who died after white police officer Derek Chauvin pressed a knee into his neck for almost nine minutes on May 25.

Earlier in London, free masks, gloves and hand gel were given out to the thousands of people at the US embassy for the peaceful protests.

Sorry, this video isn’t available any more.

To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web
browser that
supports HTML5
video

Demonstrators then marching on Westminster, protesting against racial injustice.

Dressed as comic book hero Black Panther, South London painter and decorator Christopher Green, 53, said he joined the protest to ‘support all the people in America and all those who are being oppressed’.

He added: ‘The most important thing that people have got to do is take out their video phone and document any counter-action with police because without this simple thing with George Floyd, we would probably never have known what happened.’

Labour’s shadow justice secretary David Lammy said the Government should acknowledge ‘racism and prejudice exist in the United Kingdom as well as the United States’.

He told the Guardian: ‘We must turn this moment into one of change and justice in the UK too.’

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it is ‘undoubtedly a risk’ that there will be an increase in Covid-19 cases following the protests, as he urged people not to gather in groups of more than six people.

But many protesters have argued this issue is too important to them not to take to the streets.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

For more stories like this, check our news page.