Over the last few days, thousands of people across the world have participated in anti-racist protests following the death of George Floyd in America.
Protests were held across the UK, from Bristol to Brighton, Edinburgh, Manchester, Glasgow and London. The overwhelming majority of protests and protesters were peaceful, with chants about ending police brutality, remembering those who have been murdered and ending white silence in the face of racism. There were powerful scenes of people taking the knee as they took to the streets to say, once and for all, that systemic racism must end.
But there was also some controversy surrounding viral clips from protests in London and Bristol. In London, there was footage which appeared to show police horses charging at protesters. One police person was even thrown from their horse after colliding with a traffic light. Footage also emerged of protesters throwing objects at the horse-mounted protesters and a statue of Winston Churchill was defaced.
Then in Bristol a statue of slave trader George Colston was toppled and thrown into a river. While the reaction online to this was overwhelmingly positive, Home Secretary Priti Patel said it was “disgraceful” and the police are now investigating. Nigel Farage even compared the protesters to a British “taliban”, which feels… extreme and ridiculous.
Now Boris Johnson, who has been very quiet lately, has waded in.
He said that while people had the right to peacefully protest, the protests have been “subverted by thuggery”.