Thousands across the UK join protest against George Floyd death

The Canary

Thousands of people across the UK took a knee at 6pm on 3 June 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 police custody on 25 May.

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.

Thousands of people flooded into central London for a Black Lives Matter demonstration in response to Floyd’s death. Activists chanted “Black lives matter” and “we will not be silent” in Hyde Park in a demonstration before marching on Westminster.

Some gather in Bristol to kneel (@SaskiaAlice/Twitter)

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 told PA.

“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.”

Nadine Batchelor-Hunt took part in Manchester (@nadinebh_/Twitter)

Shea Pember, from Leicester, joined the demonstration and told PA the death of Floyd had “really shocked” her.

“I couldn’t believe one person would do that to another so casually,” the 50-year-old said.

“It feels good to have taken part… I want people to know they are not alone, and to add my voice saying that this is not OK.”

Pember, who is training to be a carpenter, said only she and her partner took part on her street but social media sites show the hashtag #TakeTheKnee was used tens of thousands of times in the UK on 3 June.

It comes after social media feeds went dark on 2 June as tens of millions across the world showed solidarity for the Black community by posting black squares to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Taking a knee has regularly been used as a peaceful protest against racial inequality since US football player Colin Kaepernick began doing so during the national anthem at the start of matches in 2016.

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