Black Lives Matter latest news: Edward Colston statue pulled down and Winston Churchill defaced in weekend protests – The Sun
8th June 2020

POLICE were chased through the streets of London and pictured bleeding yesterday after yobs hurled fireworks and other objects at them as the Black Lives Matter demonstration turned violent.

Brits were protesting against racism and police brutality after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

In Parliament Square the statue of Churchill was defaced as thousands of people marched despite being warned of spreading coronavirus.

About 10,000 people also gathered in Bristol with videos on social media showing protesters using ropes to tear down the statue of slave trader Edward Colston.

Police stood aside as protesters stamped on the statue, defaced it and then rolled it through the streets and into the harbour.

Avon and Somerset police have began an investigation into criminal damage.

Boris Johnson said last night anti-racism demonstrations had been “subverted by thuggery”.

The PM wrote on Twitter: “People have a right to protest peacefully but they have no right to attack the police. These demonstrations have been subverted by thuggery — and they are a betrayal of the cause they purport to serve.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it was “undoubtedly a risk” there would be an increase in cases of Covid-19 because it was impossible for the protesters to social distance.

Follow our live blog below for all the latest news and updates…

  • BIRMINGHAM PROTESTS

    Thousands have gathered in Birmingham today to protest.

    The demonstration in Birmingham started in Centenary Square, outside the library, at 16:00 BST.

  • REMEMBERED

    George Floyd's brother, Terrence Floyd, will lead a memorial prayer service and march in Brooklyn, New York

    The march will start at Brooklyn's Cadman Plaza Park before marching across the Brooklyn Bridge.

  • FLOYD’S BROTHER SLAMS LOOTERS

    George Floyd's brother has pleaded with looters to stop as destroying their hometowns “disrespects his name and legacy”.

    Speaking after the decision was made to charge all four officers involved in the arrest death, Terrence Floyd addressed the widespread looting and protests.

    “Don't do it in the name of George Floyd,” he said during a press conference, “you're disrespecting his legacy. If you want to chant peacefully you can do so. But don't do it in the name of George Floyd.”

    Terrence also met with NYPD Police Commissioner to “begin conversations”.

    Read more here.

  • MEGHAN BREAKS SILENCE ON FLOYD

    MEGHAN Markle has spoken out over George Floyd’s death saying “the only wrong thing to say is to say nothing”.

    Speaking in a heartfelt video message to the graduating class of her former high school, the Duchess said: “I wasn’t sure what I could say to you. I wanted to say the right thing and I was really nervous that it would get picked apart.

    “And I realised the only wrong thing to say is to say nothing.

    “Because George Floyd’s life mattered and Breonna Taylor’s life mattered and Philando Castile’s life mattered and Tamir Rice’s life mattered… and so did so many other people whose names we know and whose names we do not know.”

    Read more here.

  • 90 ARRESTED IN NYC PROTESTS OVERNIGHT

    At least 90 people were arrested during protests in New York overnight, according to the city’s police.

    NYPD Chief of Department Terrance Monahan said the night had been relatively peaceful with no looting.

    He said: “We are one with the protestors.

    “We are out there for a justified cause but not with the people who want to cause mayhem to our city.”

    The arrest number is far lower than on Tuesday night, when at least 280 people were arrested, cops said.

  • DEFUNDING THE NYPD BECOMES HOT TOPIC

    After a week of peaceful protests punctuated with looting and violence in New York City, reports say officials will be facing a budget battle at City Hall after George Floyd's death.

    The pressure on NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio to cut the NYPD’s $6 billion budget is increasing as demonstrators and politicians demand he take action following Floyd's arrest in the state of Minnesota.

    The budget is due at the end of June and the mayor had previously proposed slashing $2 billion, which impacts mainly social service agencies, reported NY1.

    “For folks who say defund the police, I would say that is not the way forward,” de Blasio said. “We have a challenge in these next weeks as we go into the summer: both, how do we physically do it while we're still dealing with the pandemic?

    “And, also, how do we pay for it? We're in the worst fiscal crisis this city has seen in generations.”

    But Police Commissioner Dermot Shea has backed the force and condemned the violence and destruction sweeping the city on Twitter this week.

    “The widespread criminal activity that we’re witnessing at night has nothing to do with the peaceful protests we’re standing with during the day,” Shea tweeted. “This senseless looting is organized by bad-actors using a worthy cause as cover.

  • GEORGE FLOYD PROTESTER 'HIT WITH TEAR GAS CANISTER'

    A George Floyd protester in Michigan appeared to be blasted in the face with tear gas after being maced by cops.

    The alleged attack occurred in Grand Rapids on Saturday, prompting social media outrage and a police investigation after a video of it was posted on Twitter and Instagram.

    “Some people were lighting fireworks, that were going straight up, because we have a point to make,” one witness James Curley told Fox 17. “Black Lives Matter. Police brutality needs to stop.”

    “[The man in the video] walked up to police to express his freedom of speech. The cop stepped up to him and pepper-sprayed him. Completely no threat after that.”

    Although the majority of protesters were peaceful last Saturday, a group rioted in the Downtown area of Grand Rapids, setting cars on fire, smashing windows and looting until the early hours of Sunday morning, reports said.

    Local cops reportedly arrested seven during the riots, roughly 100 businesses were damaged in the chaos, seven cop cars were set on fire, along with three buildings.

  • taketheknee: THOUSANDS ACROSS THE UK JOIN PEACEFUL PROTEST

    Thousands of people across the UK took a knee at 6pm on Wednesday evening in peaceful protest following the death of George Floyd.

    The display, organised by the charity Stand Up To Racism, is the latest from the Black Lives Matter movement since the black 46-year-old died in US police custody on May 25.

    Rev Alan Green told the PA news agency he knelt outside his Church of St John in Bethnal Green, east London, in “solidarity and commitment” to defeating racism in society.

    “By standing together, across ethnicities, cultures and identities, we affirm our common opposition to racists and prevent fragmentation between different sections of our communities,” Mr Green added.

    Along with demonstrations in public spaces, some of which occurred as part of marches in London, Belfast and other cities, many of those taking part knelt on their front doorstep.

    Marisol Grandon, 41, was joined by her partner, eight-year-old daughter Iona Keith and son Oran Keith, 12, outside her home in Hackney, east London.

    “It feels good to do that, even though it's very little,” said Iona.

    Oran added: “It started off weird – but I was glad I did it.

    “It makes me feel happy so many people around the world are doing this. It made me feel like part of a bigger whole.”

    Some voiced disappointment they were not joined by more people, including Nadine Batchelor-Hunt in Manchester, who compared the display to the Clap For Carers displays which have taken place on Thursdays during the coronavirus pandemic.

    “People came outside to show their solidarity and love for the NHS,” the 26-year-old journalist said.

    “It would have been nice to see the country do that for black people right now… particularly given how many black NHS staff have died during Covid.”

  • BARACK OBAMA CALLS FOR POLICE REFORM IN WAKE OF PROTESTS

    Barack Obama has urged every American mayor to review and reform their police department's use-of-force policies in consultation with their communities.

    The country's first black president also struck a note of optimism, even as he acknowledged the despair and anger powering the protests since the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in police custody nine days ago.

    “In some ways, as tragic as these last few weeks have been, as difficult and scary and uncertain as they've been, they've also been an incredible opportunity for people to be awakened to some of these underlying trends,” he said via live stream from his home in Chicago.

    “And they offer an opportunity for us to all work together to tackle them, to take them on, to change America and make it live up to its highest ideals.”

    He also directly addressed young Americans of colour, telling them: “I want you to know that you matter, I want you to know that your lives matter, that your dreams matter.”

  • FLORIDA OFFICER WHO PUSHED PROTESTER PREVIOUSLY INVESTIGATED FOR ALLEGED USE OF FORCE – REPORT

    A police officer who was suspended for pushing a kneeling black woman to the ground at a George Floyd demonstration in Florida has been under review numerous times for pointing guns and using force on suspects, and at least once for racial profiling, a review of his personnel files shows.

    The files, obtained by The Associated Press in response to an open records request, also reflect that Fort Lauderdale Police Officer Steven Pohorence received several commendations over the years for helping people in need and was named Trooper of the Month once while employed by the Florida Highway Patrol.

    Video of Pohorence pushing the woman to the ground on Sunday was shared widely on social media as protests against police violence and racial injustice erupted across the country.

    Most of the files that detail Pohorence's scrutinised encounters with suspects do not specify the suspects' race, and none of the incidents, all of which were reviewed by Internal Affairs, resulted in disciplinary action.

    Investigators concluded there weren't any department policy violations, according to reports in the files.

    The South Florida Sun Sentinel first reported that Pohorence had been investigated in the past for alleged use of force.

    On two occasions, according to the files the AP obtained, Pohorence and other officers pointed their guns at women suspected of driving stolen cars while their children were in the back, records said. Both women were released after officers cleared up the confusion.

  • FORMER US DEFENCE SECRETARY SAYS TRUMP IS A 'THREAT TO THE CONSTITUTION'

    A former US Defence Secretary who resigned over Donald Trump's policy on Syria in 2018 has launched a scathing attack on the president's handling of protests sweeping across the country.

    Writing an article for The Atlantic, James Mattis accused the White House of “making a mockery of the Constitution” – and accused Mr Trump of pitting Americans against each othet

    He wrote: “The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values—our values as people and our values as a nation.

    “We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution.

    “Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us.

    “We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society.

    “This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.”

  • MINNEAPOLIS POLICE RELEASE MUGSHOT OF DEREK CHAUVIN

  • GEORGE FLOYD MEMORIAL SERVICES TO TAKE PLACE IN THREE CITIES OVER SIX DAYS

    Memorial services to honour George Floyd will take place in three cities over six days, with a chance for mourners to pay their respects in the communities where he was born, grew up, and died.

    The first service will be Thursday afternoon at North Central University in Minneapolis.

    Civil Rights leader, Reverend Al Sharpton, founder of the National Action Network, and Ben Crump, the Floyd family lawyer, will speak at the service.

    Mr Floyd's body will then go to Raeford, North Carolina, where he was born 46 years ago, for a two-hour public viewing and private service for the family on Saturday.

    Finally, a public viewing will be held Monday in Houston, where he was raised and lived most of his life.

    A 500-person service on Tuesday will take place at The Fountain of Praise church and will include addresses from Mr Sharpton, Mr Crump, and Reverend Remus E. Wright, the Floyd family pastor.

    Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, may attend, and other political figures and celebrities are expected as well. A private burial will follow.

    Both the memorials in Minneapolis and Houston will include personal tributes and eulogies about social justice, Mr Sharpton said.

  • NEW YORK MAYOR SAYS EARLY CURFEW HAS HELPED RESTORE ORDER

    New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says the city “has taken a step forward” in restoring order with the help of an early curfew.

    There was much less widespread plundering of stores Tuesday night amid a huge police presence.

    The citywide curfew continues from 8pm to 5am ET this week, imposed to prevent the nighttime chaos and destruction that followed peaceful protests for several days in a row, and will remain place until Sunday.

    The mayor said: “Last night we took a step forward in moving out of this difficult period we've had the last few days and moving to a better time.”

    He also condemned police for roughing up journalists covering the protests, adding: “There should be no condition under which any journalist is detained by the police of this city or any city in the United States of America, period.”

    Police say they arrested about 280 people on protest-related charges Tuesday, compared with 700 the previous night.

    New York State Govenor Andrew Cuomo, who was critical of the prior police response, says the city was much better and officers were better equipped to keep the peace.

  • US POLICE OFFICERS FACE MAXIMUM JAIL SENTENCE OF 40 YEARS IF CONVICTED

    An updated criminal complaint against Derek Chauvin says the officer's actions were a substantial causal factor in Floyd's death.

    “Officer Chauvin's restraint of Mr. Floyd in this manner for a prolonged period was a substantial causal factor in Mr. Floyd losing consciousness, constituting substantial bodily harm, and Mr Floyd's death as well,” the criminal complaint said.

    The unintentional second-degree murder charge alleges that Chauvin caused Floyd's death without intent while committing another felony offence, namely third-degree assault.

    Charges against the other officers allege they aided and abetted in Chauvin's actions and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said warrants have been issued for their arrests.

    It carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison, compared with a maximum of 25 years for third-degree murder.

    The three other officers – Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao – face the same maximum penalties for aiding and abetting if convicted.

    Speaking at a press conference, Mr Ellison – the lead prosecutor in the George Floyd case – announced the fresh charges against the former officers.

    Mr Ellison said: “I strongly believe that these developments are in the interests of justice for Mr Floyd, his family and the community.

    “We are working together on this case with only one goal – justice for George Floyd.”

    “George Floyd mattered. He was loved, his family was important, his life had value, and we will seek justice for him and for you, and we will find it,” he added.

  • DEMONSTRATORS PULL DOWN BARRIERS OUTSIDE DOWNING STREET

    Protesters pulled down a line of temporary barriers outside Downing Street, while plastic and glass bottles were thrown at the metal gates outside No 10.

    Officers inside No 10 returned the temporary barriers to their original position but retreated back into Downing Street when more bottles were thrown.

    Protesters then picked up the temporary barriers and threw them at the gates of Downing Street, with more objects thrown in the direction of police.

    Some of the temporary barriers were also used by protesters to block off Whitehall.

    A number of police vans then descended on the area.

  • PROTESTS CONTINUE IN WESTMINSTER

    More than 10 Metropolitan Police territorial support group vans have gathered at Parliament Square in Westminster, where protesters remained since 9pm.

    A group of protesters knelt in front of the vans, chanting “let us live” and holding up their placards.

    Demonstrators climbed up onto the window sills on the outside of the Treasury building, where they chanted and held placards.

    A short while later, a group of protesters descended on police – who were wearing helmets and holding batons – outside of the Cabinet Office, which has been daubed with “BLM” in black paint.

    Both plastic and glass bottles were thrown in the direction of officers, with some objects striking the back of the police van.

    Officers then formed a line outside Downing Street, as protesters, some on bikes, chanted, before more police vans arrived.

  • WASHINGTON DC: PEOPLE TAKE A KNEE DURING BLACK LIVES MATTER PROTEST

    People were seen “taking a knee” during a Black Lives Matter rally outside the US Capitol in Washington.

    Demontsrators were seen marching towards Capitol Hill waving placards and chanting in support of George Floyd.

    Meanwhile, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser says she is preparing for a potential legal challenge against President Donald Trump's authority over security operations in the District of Columbia.

    Trump directed what he characterised as a full-scale federal response on Monday night to quell protests over the death of George Floyd – including forces from a variety of federal agencies and the entire 1,700-strong contingent of the DC National Guard.

    Military helicopters repeatedly buzzed low over protesters, kicking up clouds of debris, and guardsmen armed with long guns were stationed throughout the city.

    Bowser added that her administration had only requested about 100 unarmed guardsmen.

  • BLACK LIVES MATTER PROTEST CLOSES DOWN BELFAST CITY CENTRE

    Around 2,000 people have taken part in a noisy and emotional Black Lives Matter protest in Belfast city centre.

    Demonstrators took over the main road in front of the landmark City Hall for more than two hours, forcing police to divert traffic.

    They chanted, knelt and held aloft hundreds of placards to protest against the death of George Floyd in police custody in the US last week.

    Several demonstrators made impromptu speeches to the crowd of mainly young people, while crowds chanted “No justice, no peace” and “I can't breathe” and repeatedly called out Mr Floyd's name.

    They also targeted PM Boris Johnson and US President Donald Trump with abusive chants– while police presence was low key, with officers observing from a distance.

    Police Service of Northern Ireland Chief Inspector Gavin Kirkpatrick said: “We estimate 1,500-2,000 were in attendance at this afternoon's Black Lives Matter event in Belfast city centre. We engaged with the organiser before and during the event and maintained a presence throughout.

    “We will continue to engage, explain and encourage people to make the right choices and enforce the law as appropriate.

    “Everyone is urged to be mindful of the regulations – each of us has a personal responsibility to follow them and do everything we can to stop the spread of Covid-19.”

  • US STAR QUARTERBACK PLEDGES $1MILLION TO HELP FIGHT 'SYSTEMIC RACISM'

    Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott pledged $1 million over social media in a bid to improve police training and address systemic racism.

    The star's lengthy Instagram post comes on the heels of the death of George Floyd.

    He posted: “As a black multiracial American, I am disgusted and unsettled! As our communities take action, protesting and fighting for the justice of George Floyd and every black life, I am with you!”

    Prescott, 26, addressed the members of law enforcement, writing: “To the men and women that police our streets, I have the utmost respect for those of you with a passion for protecting and serving our communities,” Prescott wrote.

    “When you chose to wear a badge of a police officer, you pledged to PROTECT life and property through the enforcement of our laws and regulations.

    “How can you claim to uphold the law when those within your ranks don't abide by it? You need to hold your own accountable! “Each of you are as guilty as the men who stood beside Derek Chauvin if you do not stand up against the systemic racism plaguing our police forces nationwide.”

    View this post on Instagram

    A post shared by Dak Prescott (@_4dak) on

  • ATHENS: GREEK DEMONSTRATORS THROW FIREBOMBS NEAR US EMBASSY

    Demonstrators hurled firebombs in a march towards the US Embassy compound in Athens on Wednesday in protest over the death of George Floyd.

    According to Reuters, demonstrators threw several flaming objects on the street as they made their way towards the heavily-guarded embassy in central Athens.

    Police then responded by firing rounds of teargas.

    The embassy itself was cordoned off with rows of blue police buses.

    Demonstrators were holding banners and placards reading “Black lives matter” and “I can't breathe” in what was largely considered a peaceful protest.

    Police sources estimated the number of protesters at more than 4,000.

  • TORY MINISTER DEMANDS MPs TAKING PART IN PROTESTS SHOULD BE BANNED FROM COMMONS

    Any MPs who have taken part in the protests in London and disobeyed social distancing rules should be disallowed from re-entering the Commons until after a period of self-isolation, a Tory MP has said.

    Raising a point of order in the Commons, Imran Ahmad Khan (Wakefield) said: “It has come to my notice that certain members of this House, including well-known members such as the Member for Brent North (Labour MP Barry Gardiner) have fragrantly flouted the law and have joined the protests outside, breaking, in fact boasting that they have broken social distancing measures.”

    He added: “I feel that we are going to be placed at risk when there has been such advertised and self-publicised breaking of the law and vectors of the disease that we are fighting, and that this Government is fighting, will be, if he returns to this House, a vector of the disease will be allowed access to spread amongst the hardworking staff here.

    “Are there measures in order to make such members who have flouted the law and are now possibly more likely to be contagious or indeed infected by the disease to be prevented from rejoining this House until they have undergone a period of self-isolation to ensure that we do not suffer a threat because of their aberrant behaviour?”

  • BLACK LIVES MATTER ORGANISERS PROVIDED FREE MASKS AND GLOVES TO HYDE PARK PROTESTERS

    Organisers provided masks and gloves to protesters at today's Hyde Park event and asked people to sit two metres apart unless they were from the same household.

    Protesters were also told to keep their arms stretched out to ensure social distancing.

    Naomi Smith, one of the event organisers, said: “We want people to understand that people are dying from coronavirus and people are dying from racism.”

    The 21-year-old said one of her reasons for protesting was Belly Mujinga, a railway worker who died with Covid-19 after reportedly being spat at by a man who said he was infected with the virus.

    British Transport Police launched an investigation into her death but have since said it would not be taking any further action in spite of CCTV footage.

  • DOZENS TAKE A KNEE FOR GEORGE FLOYD IN PEACEFUL EDINBURGH PROTEST

    Dozens of protesters have taken a knee for George Floyd during peaceful action in Edinburgh.

    Mr Floyd died in police custody in the US after a white officer held him down by pressing a knee into his neck in Minneapolis on May 25, sparking international protests as part of the Black Lives Matter movement.

    The 46-year-old could be heard pleading for air in videos filmed by onlookers.

    On Wednesday night crowds gathered in the Scottish capital for the event organised by Stand Up To Racism, with many others said to have joined in across the country.

    Around 50-60 people gathered at 6pm in Parliament Square outside St Giles' Cathedral and observed social distancing measures while also wearing masks.

    Police were joined by liaison officers for the short protest until it finished 15 minutes later.

  • CHARGE AGAINST POLICE OFFICER WHO KNELT ON GEORGE FLOYD UPGRADED TO SECOND-DEGREE MURDER

    Four cops in the US have now been charged over the death of George Floyd with the officer who knelt on him for eight minutes set to face second-degree murder charges, reports say.

    Minnesota’s Attorney General will escalate charges against Derek Chauvin and charge the three other officers with aiding and abetting murder, the Star Tribune reported.

    https://www.the-sun.com/news/927949/george-floyd-death-cops-charges-derek-chauvin-murder/

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