London was due to see another Black Lives Matter protest hit the streets this weekend but London Mayor Sadiq Khan has warned people not to take part. Tweeting this morning, he said: “To anyone planning to join #BlackLivesMatter protests over the coming days: for you and your families safety, please stay at home and find a safe way to make your voice heard. To the extreme far-right groups hijacking this crucial cause: Londoners have no time for your hatred.”
Last weekend saw demonstrators clash with police in London, while in Bristol a statue of slave trader Edward Colston was pulled down and dumped in the city’s harbour.
Khan said he is “extremely concerned” that further protests in London, particularly by extreme far-right groups which “advocate hatred and division”, could lead to violence and disorder.
He added he is working with the Metropolitan Police and partners to ensure statues and monuments at risk, including the Cenotaph, Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela, are covered and protected.
The official Black Lives Matter movement has cancelled the weekend’s planned Hyde Park protest – but there are concerns some people could still show up.
READ MORE: Black Lives Matter cancel planned Hyde Park protest after threats
Together with our partners, we are ensuring that key statues and monuments at risk, including the Cenotaph, Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela, are covered and protected.
Our police officers are under growing pressure and strain, and 62 have been injured – having worked under extremely difficult circumstances over the last week to safely police protests, all at a time when the coronavirus still presents a grave threat to them and all our communities.
The protests over the past week have shown just how difficult it is to maintain social distancing in large crowds, and the risk of spreading the disease at a protest is very real.
There have been confirmed new cases among protestors around the world, from the US to Australia, and I fear we will see the same here.
So please, for yourselves, your family members who may be vulnerable to COVID-9, and for the wider causes, please stay at home over the next few days and find a safe way to make your voices heard.