‘BlackLivesMatter’ protests in London descend into violence

LONDON: About 20 unarmed police officers who were not dressed in riot gear were hit with glass bottles and other projectiles as ‘BlackLivesMatter’ protestors clashed with cops trying to guard the front gates of Downing Street as protests in London turned violent on Saturday. The protests were sparked by the death of George Floyd during a police arrest at Minneapolis in the United States on May 25.
The line of police had to be taken off the scene and riot police in full gear with shields and helmets, and mounted police on horses, had to be brought in to push the violent protesters away from Downing Street in central London that houses the official residences and offices of the UK Prime Minister.
One police officer was thrown from his horse after a bottle was thrown at him as the protest descended into chaos around 6pm local time. The horse bolted up towards Trafalgar Square. The officer’s injuries are unknown. No arrests confirmed till this report went to press.

The protests took place despite being illegal under the temporary coronavirus legislation. For about an hour from around 6pm things grew tense outside Downing Street and then they descended into violence. By 7pm there were hundreds of protesters still facing off against police in Whitehall.
One black protestor told Sky News: “The real message is being lost. Half the people here don’t know why they are here. They are throwing bottles. There are a lot of bad people here.”

Home secretary Priti Patel had earlier urged people not to protest. “I understand people’s desire to express their views and have that protest but we are in the middle of a pandemic across the UK. Coronavirus is a deadly protest. I would say to people who wish to protest, please don’t. The regulations are clear in terms of mass gatherings. We must put public health first at this particular time. I would say to the organisers — speak to the police and they want to engage and explain an talk to people so we can stop the spread of this horrendous virus.”

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