British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the demonstrations against racism and police brutality were undermined by acts of banditry, after numerous clashes between demonstrators and police officers in the United Kingdom over the weekend.
Johnson noted that the demonstrators have every right to peacefully express their opinion, but an attack on police officers is completely unacceptable. He noted that acts of violence are a betrayal of the important matter that these protests are called upon to serve, and promised to bring those responsible to justice.
Tens of thousands of people took part in protests across the UK, including Bristol, Manchester, Nottingham, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Mostly the demonstrations were peaceful.
However, in London, in some cases, protests escalated into clashes with police officers. One such clash occurred on Saturday evening near the Prime Minister’s residence on Downing Street.
As a result of clashes, eight policemen were injured, 12 demonstrators were detained. Thus, together with 13 police officers who suffered during the clashes at the beginning of last week, 21 law enforcement officers suffered in total.
One mounted police officer continues to remain in the hospital after she was knocked down from a horse during a clash.
Most of the arrests in London are related to the violation of public order, in one case – for causing criminal damage.
The footage shot from the air shows how thousands of protesters are moving in a convoy to the US Embassy in southwest London, and then follow in the direction of Parliament Square and Downing Street.
In Parliament Square, activists painted a monument to Winston Churchill with paint, writing the word “racist” on a pedestal and affixing a leaflet with the inscription Black Lives Matter – “Black lives are important.” Deputy Foreign Minister James Cleverly called the deed stupid and counterproductive. One of the protesters tried to burn the British flag.
After dark, policemen in protective gear took up positions in order to prevent an aggressive group of protesters from entering the parliament building. Activists threw bottles at them; shortly afterwards, the police demanded that the demonstrators leave the territory.
According to John Upther, head of the union of police officers in England and Wales, the true message of protest was poisoned by some of the demonstrators who deliberately sought to harm the police.
He also called unforgivable that some mocked at the riots and acts of violence against the police, adding that this could cool people’s intention to participate in the protests.
Labor head Kir Starmer said in an interview with LBC that violence against police officers is categorically unacceptable. “No one can even imagine that there can be anything good in these acts of violence.”
He also added that police officers should kneel if they find it appropriate.