United Kingdom

Thousands of Black Lives Matter protesters pack into Parliament Square

Thousands of Black Lives Matter protesters packed into Parliament Square in London despite ministers' pleas for them to stay indoors amid the coronavirus threat.

The protests today mark the second weekend of demonstrations sparked by the death of unarmed black man George Floyd in the US last week.

Demonstrators piled into Parliament Square in Westminster a day after Priti Patel and Matt Hancock urged them to obey social distancing rules and not gather in groups of more than six.

After hearing speeches and taking part in a minutes silence in Westminster, part of the crowd of around 10,000 to 15,000 broke off to march towards the Home Office calling for justice for victims of the Windrush immigration scandal.

Similar protests were seen in Manchester - where 15,00 gathered in Piccadilly Gardens -  Cardiff, Leicester, and Sheffield.

Anthony Joshua joined protesters in Watford, north London, by hobbling along on crutches. He wore a black jumper emblazoned with the words: 'Black Lives Matter.'

Joshua - a two-time unified heavyweight champion - is wearing a leg brace as a precaution after feeling a 'twinge' in it last week, reports suggest. 

Vast crowds of people packed into Parliament Square, London, today as part of demonstrations following the death of George Floyd last week

Vast crowds were seen in Parliament Square with demonstrators - mostly wearing protective face masks - clutching placards

Massive crowds of people filled Vauxhall Bridge Road during the Black Lives Matter protest following the death of George Floyd in the US 

A man was detained by police officers in Parliament Square today as masses of people took to the streets to protest following the killing of George Floyd

Another man was held to the ground and arrested by police in London on the second weekend of protests since George Floyd died

A man clutched a sign reading 'silence is violence' as he stood in front of a row of police officers near the US embassy in London

Vast crowds of people filled Vauxhall Bridge in London with lines of densely-packed demonstrators extending back for miles

A woman raised her fist into the air during a protest near the US Embassy in London. A row of police officers can be seen behind her

Crowds gathered on Vauxhall Bridge during a protest in London. Ministers have urged demonstrators to obey social distancing rules

Protesters can be seen wearing protective face masks as they gathered in London on the second weekend of protests today

Crowds gathered on the pavement during a Black Lives Matter protest in London. Demonstrators brandished signs reading 'Black Lives Matter and 'enough is enough'

After hearing speeches and taking part in a minutes silence in Westminster, part of the crowd of around 10,000 to 15,000 broke off to march towards the Home Office calling for justice for victims of the Windrush immigration scandal. Other protesters marched on the US Embassy and there was a separate protest in Watford 

Thousands of Black Lives Matter protesters piled into Parliament Square in London despite ministers' desperate pleas for them to stay indoors amid the coronavirus threat

A demonstrator can be seen clutching a sign reading 'you can't enjoy the rhythm and ignore the blues' during the protest today

Demonstrators climbed onto the roof of a bus stop along Victoria Street in London during the Black Lives Matter protests

Another sign read: 'Love us like you love our culture.' Today marks the second weekend of protests in the UK following the death of George Floyd

Huge crowds were seen in Parliament Square today. Yesterday, Government ministers warned protesters to obey social distancing rules 

Demonstrators clutched cardboard signs as they gathered in Parliament Square, London. The global uproar was sparked by the death of George Floyd in the US

Two protestors hold up signs (pictured) saying: 'The law doesn't save us it enslaves us' and 'Why is my life a crime' during the London demonstrations

In Manchester, demonstrators also took to the streets - some wearing protective face masks - as they marched as part of protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd

Protesters wearing protective face masks were seen gathering in Parliament Square during today's anti-racism protests in London

Demonstrators took to the streets of London for the second weekend as protests - sparked by the death of George Floyd in the US - continued

Anthony Joshua joined the thousands of Black Lives Matter protesters who are taking to the streets today on the second weekend of anti-racism demonstrations

Pictures showed huge crowds descending on the capital brandishing signs and chanting.

Banksy shares his support for the Black Lives Matter movement via Instagram 

Banksy has shown his support for the Black Lives Matter movement, saying 'people of colour are being failed by the system'.

Banksy has shown his support for the Black Lives Matter movement, saying 'people of colour are being failed by the system'

In an Instagram post, the graffiti artist, who rose to fame for his provocative street art, wrote: 'At first I thought I should just shut up and listen to black people about this issue.

'But why would I do that? It's not their problem, it's mine.'

He continued: 'People of colour are being failed by the system. The white system. Like a broken pipe flooding the apartment of the people living downstairs. The faulty system is making their life a misery, but it's not their job to fix it. They can't - no-one will let them in the apartment upstairs.

'This is a white problem. And if white people don't fix it, someone will have to come upstairs and kick the door in.'

Alongside the post is a painting of a vigil candle burning an American flag.

Met Police were seen guarding the cenotaph after it was vandalised during Wednesday's demonstrations.

One man was arrested in Parliament Square. Pictures showed him sat in handcuffs as two police officers spoke to him.

The Winston Churchill memorial was defaced today as protesters spray painted the word ‘ACAB’ - an anarchist slogan meaning All Cops Are B******* onto the plinth.

Earlier protesters had climbed onto the 12ft high sculpture with placards.

The vandalism comes after similar graffiti was left on war memorials along Whitehall during protests on Wednesday. 

Two police officers are now guarding the famous bronze sculpture, which shows Churchill standing with his hand resting on his walking stick and wearing a military greatcoat.

Priti Patel yesterday said people should not gather in groups larger than six because Covid-19 'remains a real threat'.

She wrote on Twitter: 'Please for the safety of all of us, do not attend large gatherings - including protests - of more than six people this weekend.

'As Matt Hancock said, coronavirus remains a real threat and people must protect themselves and their families from this horrific disease.'

Her statement echoed that of Health Secretary Matt Hancock who yesterday said he was 'appalled' by the death of Mr Floyd, but stressed that the UK was still facing a health crisis and coronavirus remained a 'real threat'. 

Mr Hancock told the daily Downing Street briefing on Friday he could understand why people were 'deeply upset', but said people in the UK should not attend large gatherings.

He added: 'Like so many I am appalled by the death of George Floyd and I understand why people are deeply upset but we are still facing a health crisis and coronavirus remains a real threat.

'The reason that it is vital that people stick to the rules this weekend is to protect themselves and their family from this horrific disease.

'So please, for the safety of your loved ones, do not attend large gatherings including demonstrations of more than six people.'

Police lined the streets near the US Embassy in London as protests following the death of George Floyd continued

Cars can be seen making their way through the crowds of protesters clutching signs. Some people were wearing protective face masks

A huge crowd made its way through the streets of London to get to the US Embassy as part of Black Lives Matter protests today

Demonstrators - most wearing protective face masks - marched on the US Embassy in London brandishing cardboard signs

Anthony Joshua can be seen in a large crowd of protesters brandishing signs and holding their fists in the air on the second weekend of protests in the UK

Thousands of Black Lives Matter protesters have packed into Parliament Square despite ministers pleas for them to stay home amid the coronavirus threat

Protests in London today (pictured) come amid warnings that coronavirus remains a real threat to safety and social distancing measures remain essential

Demonstrators spray paint Winston Churchill memorial 

Protesters who have gathered outside Parliament for the Black Lives Matter demonstration today have defaced the memorial to Winston Churchill. 

The word ‘ACAB’ - an anarchist slogan meaning All Cops Are B**tards - has been spray painted onto the plinth of the much-loved statue of Britain’s war time leader.

Earlier protesters had climbed onto the 12ft high sculpture with placards as thousands descended on Westminster to protest the death of American George Floyd, who died in US police custody two weeks ago.

The vandalism comes after similar graffiti was left on war memorials along Whitehall during protests on Wednesday. 

Two police officers are now guarding the famous bronze sculpture, which shows Churchill standing with his hand resting on his walking stick and wearing a military greatcoat. 

An onlooker said today: ‘It’s the 76th anniversary of the D-Day Landings - to do that today of all days is disgusting.’ 

The statue is one of 12 dotted around Parliament Square of well-known statesman. 

A leading scientist has also warned demonstrators to be 'very careful', wear face masks and observe social distancing rules.

Professor John Edmunds, who attends meetings of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) supporting the Government, told Today: 'I can understand why people would want to protest but on the other hand I think people need to be careful - very careful.

'If you think about it, overall the infection rate in the community is about 1 in 600, 1 in 700 maybe, so in large groups of individuals you would expect there to be some individuals in a large group who would be infectious.'

He said people can transmit coronavirus before displaying symptoms, and added: 'Mask wearing would reduce the risk to some extent from individuals who may be infectious.'

Demonstrators will head to Parliament Square today before going to the US Embassy in the capital tomorrow.

An estimated 4,000 people are expected to attend a demonstration in Bristol, which will include a march through the city to Castle Park on Sunday, Avon and Somerset police said.

Unrest was sparked after the death of African American Floyd who was killed when a white police officer held him down by pressing a knee into his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds.

Two women clutched signs as they sat in Parliament Square reading: 'Black Lives Matter' and 'No justice, no peace'

Two police officers were seen arresting a man in Parliament Square during the protests in London this weekend

Thousands of people descended on the nation's capital brandishing signs and chanting on the second weekend of demonstrations following the death of unarmed black man George Floyd in the US

The protests (in Leicester, pictured) today mark the second weekend of demonstrations sparked by the death of unarmed black man George Floyd in the US last week

A demonstrator clutched a sign reading 'end police brutality' as she attended a demonstration in Parliament Square, London

Met Police were seen guarding the cenotaph after it was vandalised during Wednesday's demonstrations

Scientist warns Black Lives Matter protesters to wear face masks and obey social distancing

People attending anti-racism protests planned across the UK this weekend should be 'very careful', wear face masks and observe social distancing rules, an infectious diseases expert has said.

Professor John Edmunds, who attends meetings of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) supporting the Government, told Today: 'I can understand why people would want to protest but on the other hand I think people need to be careful - very careful.

'If you think about it, overall the infection rate in the community is about 1 in 600, 1 in 700 maybe, so in large groups of individuals you would expect there to be some individuals in a large group who would be infectious.'

He said people can transmit coronavirus before displaying symptoms, and added: 'Mask wearing would reduce the risk to some extent from individuals who may be infectious.'

Despite Floyd's desperate pleas that he 'can't  breathe', white police officer Derek Chauvin continued to press down. Floyd passed out and later died in Minneapolis on May 25.

People got down on one knee for an anti-racism protest in London's Trafalgar Square this week despite police warning that such mass demonstrations could be viewed as unlawful.

Those who took part in the tribute to Floyd knelt two metres apart in the shadow of Nelson's Column, wore masks and carried homemade placards which condemned racism and brutality.

But Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said earlier that such protests should not take place under current coronavirus restrictions.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: 'The health protection regulations are really clear that it is unlawful.'

His warning came after large crowds marched in London and Birmingham this week to protest about the treatment of Floyd, 46.

Video footage shows Floyd gasping that he cannot breathe during the arrest by four officers. 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.

Activists have put up names of black people and civil rights activists throughout history alongside street names around the Glasgow as part of demonstrations

Wilson Street was renamed Rosa Parks Street while Glassford Street was dubbed Fred Hampton Street in Glasgow as part of demonstrations

Health Secretary Matt Hancock yesterday warned Britons not to attend large scale anti-racism demonstrations this weekend due to the risk of coronavirus. Priti Patel urged Black Lives Matter protesters not to attend mass demonstrations

‘Madness of Crowds’ author tells of hypocrisy for allowing protests while majority stick to social-distancing rules 

The author of best-selling political book ‘The Madness of Crowds’ has slammed authorities as hypocrites for allowing mass anti-racism protests while still urging Britons to stick to social distancing rules.

Controversial author Douglas Murray said that while 'everybody in the UK has to lock down', thousands are permitted to gather for protests across the UK sparked by the death of unarmed black man George Floyd in the US.

Controversial author Douglas Murray

He told The Sun: 'We have been through weeks indeed months in Britain - as in other countries in the lockdown - of people being told they mustn't visit their parents or they mustn't go for a sunbathe on their own in the middle of a park.'

He added: 'We aren't allowed to have gatherings in our houses, we're not allowed to meet friends, we're now allowed to have tea with up to six people in our gardens if we're fortunate enough to have one. 

'Oh, but the exception is if a Minneapolis police officer does something appalling and utterly reprehensible and then you can come out in the thousands, so there's an exemption.'

Clashes have broken out between police and protesters in the US, with officers recorded firing tear gas and rubber bullets on crowds. Some people looted shops.

During the Trafalgar Square demonstration, Dee Ndlovu said: 'I kneel because of the names and the voices that have been lost to the wind.

'I kneel for the ones who are not heard and the ones who do not get a hashtag, the ones who do not get pictures or a social media campaign, the ones who have been forgotten in history and time. I kneel because of them.'

Taking a knee is a peaceful gesture to protest against police brutality which was first carried out by NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick during the national anthem at an American Football game in 2016.

The protest came after pockets of protesters clashed with police as thousands of people flooded into central London and abandoned social distancing for a BLM demonstration on Wednesday.

After a largely peaceful demonstration in Hyde Park, during which Star Wars actor John Boyega gave an impassioned speech, tensions later escalated outside Downing Street. There were 13 arrests.

In an open letter to the British people on Friday, US ambassador to the UK Robert Wood Johnson said it was through peaceful protest that injustice was most successfully addressed.

He added: 'The US Embassy in London is united with the British public in grief over the tragic death of Mr George Floyd, which deserves universal condemnation.

'We offer our deepest condolences to the Floyd family.

'His death is a reminder that as a nation we must do more to fight racism and injustice.'

Her warning comes ahead of mass anti-racism protests planned in various locations across the UK following the death of unarmed black man George Floyd in the US. Pictured: Protesters in Parliament Square yesterday

Their warnings come ahead of demonstrations planned in Parliament Square in London on Saturday and the US Embassy in the capital the next day. Pictured: Protesters in Parliament Square yesterday

An estimated 4,000 people are expected to attend a demonstration in Bristol, which will include a march through the city to Castle Park on Sunday, Avon and Somerset police said. Pictured: Protesters in Parliament Square yesterday

Anthony Joshua mingles with fellow protesters while Boris Becker marches in a face mask as they join Alexa Chung and Suki Waterhouse for Black Lives Matter demonstrations in the UK

By Ryan Smith for MailOnline

Sportsmen Anthony Joshua and Boris Becker were among the stars who were spotted joining nationwide Black Lives Matter protests on Saturday.

Alexa Chung and Suki Waterhouse also took to their respective Instagram accounts as they joined British-based protesters, following George Floyd's killing in police custody, which has sparked worldwide demonstrations since late last month.

Ex-police officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after a video surfaced of him crushing 46-year-old Floyd's neck with his knee in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Protest: British heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua is pictured at a Black Lives Matter protest in Watford on Saturday afternoon following the death of George Floyd in the United States

And heavyweight boxing champ Anthony, 30, was seen in the thick of the crowds as he supported the Black Lives Matter movement in his hometown of Watford.  

Wearing a black hoodie with the movement's name on the front, the WBA, WBO and IBF world champion joined hundreds of others on the peaceful protest.

At one stage, Joshua, who walked with crutches and wore a leg brace as he recovers from a training injury, addressed those gathered over a microphone.

Mask: Meanwhile, tennis icon Boris, 52, took to Instagram to share images of himself donning a green face mask, along with a black hoodie and cap as he protested in London

Capturing the moment: He trained his phone's lens on the thronging crowds as he showed them holding Black Lives Matter banners aloft in a show of solidarity

A spokesperson for the star told Sportsmail that he he is wearing the race as a precautionary measure, after feeling a 'slight twinge' in his knee while training.

Ensuring his followers would catch every moment of the demonstration, the star opted to share a livestream on Instagram.

Meanwhile, tennis icon Boris, 52, took to Instagram to share images of himself donning a green face mask, along with a black hoodie and cap as he protested in London.

Killed: A private autopsy ordered by the family of George Floyd has found that he was killed by asphyxia due to 'neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain' 

He trained his phone's lens on the thronging crowds as he showed them holding Black Lives Matter placards aloft in a show of solidarity.

Meanwhile, Alexa, 36, and Suki, 28, took to their respective Instagram accounts to share their own footage from the London protests.

Among the several images shared by model and actress Suki was a shot of a banner, which read: 'Use our white privilege to dismantle the system.'

Their participation follows several days of countless celebrities publicly denouncing racism and the thousands of deaths of black people at the hands of the police.

Share: Suki Waterhouse took to her Instagram account to share footage of the London protest

United: The stars' images showed countless demonstrators united in backing the movement

Snap: Alexa Chung was also among the stars who shared footage of themselves at the protests

Joshua is the latest high profile star to back the BLM movement following the death of African American George Floyd, who was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis, United States.

Police officer Derek Chauvin has since been charged with second degree murder after a video emerged showing him kneeling on Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes while he laid on the floor in handcuffs.

His death has sparked a series of sometimes protests across the United States and demonstrations around the world. 

Joshua joined hundreds of peaceful protestors on the march through his hometown of Watford on the second weekend of protests

The boxer was handed a microphone to address those gathered during Saturday's Black Lives Matter protest

A spokesperson for the star told Sportsmail that he he is wearing the race as a precautionary measure, after feeling a 'slight twinge' in his knee while training 

Hundreds turned out for the Black Lives Matter protest march in Watford on Saturday. Pictured: Anthony Joshua posing with a crowd

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