Thousands of peaceful protesters gathered at London’s Parliament Square on Saturday as part of a Black Lives Matter demonstration in solidarity with protests taking place across the United States.
The protest, which has so far proven to be entirely peaceful, was organized following unrest in the US over the killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis.
Today, United Kingdom protesters joined together to chant Floyd’s name and “black lives matter." At one point, everyone took a knee in unison.
“I feel that what happened in the US was just a spark, that sparked everywhere…I do think George Floyd’s death sparked it across the world and I think it’s amazing,” one protester told CNN on Saturday.
“It’s a world-wide issue, no matter where you are. It’s an issue everywhere, we all need to rise up,” another protester added.
Coronavirus concerns: The gathering has garnered a significant turnout, despite the government urging citizens not to demonstrate over fears that the protest could lead to the further spread of coronavirus.
“I completely understand people’s desire to express their views and to have that right to protest, but the fact of the matter is, we are in a health pandemic across the United Kingdom,” UK Home Secretary Priti Patel said Saturday during an interview with Sky News.
“I would say to those that want to protest, please don’t,” she added.
While little social distancing has been observed at the demonstration, people have been seen handing out free masks and gloves to protect protesters from spreading the virus.
According to the UK Metropolitan Police, roads into Parliament Square have been closed “to protect both protesters and vehicles” entering the area. While there is a substantial police presence, officers are not wearing protective riot equipment.