Brits take the knee for George Floyd amid Black Lives Matter protests
People across the UK knelt outside their homes this evening in support of Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests over the death of George Floyd, 46.
Mr Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin after he knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes during an arrest. In footage of the incident, the father-of-two, who was unarmed, could be heard repeatedly saying, ‘I can’t breathe’. He died before reaching the hospital.
His deaths has sparked protests the world, with thousands gathering today in Hyde Park and Downing Street. Stand Up to Racism (SUTR) then asked people to ‘Take the Knee for George Floyd’ on their doorsteps at 6pm as a form of socially distanced activism.
The action was inspired by American football star Colin Kaepernick, who refused to stand during the national anthem to call attention to racial inequality and police brutality. Those taking part were also encouraged to make signs declaring their support for the BLM movement.
In a statement, SUTR said: ‘We are outraged that yet another black person has been killed at the hands of the police in the USA. The events unfolding in the USA are a product of hundreds of years of racism and oppression of black communities, which has led to countless lives lost.
‘The events also take place in the context of black communities disproportionately dying as a result of and infected by coronavirus, the highest levels of unemployment, which is rising fast due to the rapid economic contraction taking place. So black people are disproportionately affected by police brutality, unemployment, economic hardship and the coronavirus.’
In photos shared online this evening, many people held placards which read ‘I can’t breathe’, ‘Black Lives Matter’, ‘I stand with you’ and ‘white violence is silence’. In North London, a video showed a group of activists kneeling on a grass bank next to a busy road.
The moment was also shared by demonstrators outside Downing Street, who knelt together while chanting ‘I can’t breathe’.
The London Fire Brigade in Barnet shared pictures of firefighters on their knees outside Finchley Fire Station, while Ayrshire Police officers also knelt outside together.
However many also took pictures of the streets around them, stating that the rest of their road had not joined them in supporting the protests. Some shared their anger at difference in turn out between the campaign and weekly Clap for Carers event which happens at 8pm on Thursdays.