A council has apologised after a Black Lives Matter mural was painted over following a complaint that named it ‘offensive graffiti’.

The mural, created in a Norwich city underpass after the tragic death of George Floyd in the US, read: ‘Norwich against racism. Black Lives Matter. All cops are accountable’.

A contractor covered it with black paint after a ‘terrible misunderstanding’ with an automated complaint online system, according to a Norwich City Council spokesman.

The council ‘stands in solidarity with members of the BAME community’ and wants to commission the artist to repaint the mural, the spokesman said.

A statement read: ‘Yesterday, a complaint was made about offensive graffiti in the city.

‘It was made online and went straight through an automated system to our contractor who, unfortunately, took action to paint over the mural.

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‘This has been a terrible misunderstanding and we will urgently work with our contractor to correct it.’

The spokesman added: ‘We do not consider this in any way to be offensive graffiti, we consider it an important work of art.

‘We denounce racism in the strongest terms and stand in solidarity with members of the BAME community in Norwich, across the country and globally.’

Norwich’s city hall was lit up in purple on Thursday in honour of Mr Floyd, , an unarmed father who was filmed lying face-down on the road, begging for air with a white officer’s knee on his neck.

Knapple, the artist who painted the mural, has agreed to redo it, but has questioned the contractor’s actions.

She said: ‘I think it shows a lack of compassion, understanding by the contractors, they didn’t think to query it?’

It comes as the health secretary urges people not to attend Black Lives Matter protests this weekend if there will be more than six people there.

Huge crowds of protesters gathered this week to demand justice for Mr Floyd and call for an end to systemic racism.

Matt Hancock said today he is ‘appalled’ by the tragedy, but asked the public ‘to stay away from mass demonstrations as ‘we are still facing a health crisis’.

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