Horse bolts through crowd as police harass demonstrators at peaceful Black Lives Matter rally

The Canary

A horse bolted through a crowd of people in central London during a Black Lives Matter protest on Saturday 6 June. The incident took place after police mounted on horses clashed with protesters at a peaceful rally outside Downing Street.

The London protest was carried out peacefully for much of Saturday afternoon, but scuffles began at around 6pm when police tried to harass protesters. Videos circulating on social media showed mounted police charging through protesters to try and disperse them. One officer appeared to fall off their horse, which then bolted – sending crowds of people scattering.

The trouble flared following peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstrations in the capital and in other cities across the country. A series of marches and demonstrations took place through London, including outside the US Embassy, in protest against police brutality following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Black Lives Matter protests
The brown police horse bolted during the clashes (Yui Mok/PA)

Celebrity support

Elsewhere, boxing heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua used crutches to join people on a peaceful protest in his home town of Watford. In a speech shared online, 30-year-old Joshua said:

We can no longer sit back and remain silent on this senseless, unlawful killings and sly racism on another human being – based on what? Only their skin colour.

Black Lives Matter protests
Protesters placed signs are placed on the fence of the Houses of Parliament (Aaron Chown/PA)

Many people wore face masks and social-distancing measures were encouraged during events in Manchester, Cardiff, Sheffield and Newcastle, among other cities. People wanted to show solidarity with campaigners in the US and to highlight incidents when Black and ethnic minority people in Britain have been victims of racial discrimination and violence at the hands of police and others.

Kate Ferdinand attended the London protest with her ex-footballer husband Rio and their children, and said it was an “overwhelming experience”. In an Instagram post, the reality star said:

Such a moving and overwhelming experience for us today.

Honestly, we were cautious about going and taking the children but we are so glad we made the decision to go, it’s something we will all remember for the rest of our lives.

“There is a virus greater than Covid-19 and it’s called racism”

Earlier in London, most demonstrators who gathered in Parliament Square wore masks and face coverings, with some opting for gloves. Placards carried by demonstrators referenced the coronavirus crisis, with one saying: “There is a virus greater than Covid-19 and it’s called racism”. As the rally began, one organiser used a megaphone to tell the crowds: “We are not here for violence. Today is sheer positivity, today is sheer love”.

Black Lives Matter protests
Thousands gathered in Manchester to join the protest (Danny Lawson/PA)

Protester Bobbi, 26, from Chingford, London – who did not give her last name, said:

We’re literally living in the history books, we’re going to be teaching our future children about this and I want to say I was here to support that.

Thousands of protesters packed central Manchester. They chanted and clapped in unison and held home-made placards bearing the initials BLM.

Several hundred marchers gathered in Newcastle, while thousands more watched an online protest organised in the north-east of England.

In Sheffield, hundreds of people gathered on Devonshire Green to protest and hold a minute’s silence. During the gathering, which included speeches, they chanted: “No justice, no peace, no racist police”.

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  • Show Comments
    1. Isn’t it great to see that, in the 21st Century, the police are still using horses to disperse crowds. And on rain soaked oil slick streets. No wonder that rider fell off. It’s a miracle all the horses didn’t slip and fall.
      Police brutality. There’s no end to it’s depths.

      1. When police use horses and dogs to ‘control’ crowds there is
        (1) an intention to ‘weaponise’ the animals and use them to intimidate the public. This is deliberate abuse of the animals, and the public whom the police are supposed to serve – there is no justification for such animal exploitation in C21st when science has demonstrated how animals suffer when ‘trained’ to behave against their nature, and abusive policing at a protest about police brutality is just stupid or cynical.
        (2) the general public are, on the whole, compassionate towards animals, especially horses and dogs. Thus when animals are seen in distressing scenes, the sympathy is towards them and against the people considered to have caused ‘animal abuse’. The public generally do not see the police as the animal abusers despite the fact it is the police who train animals as ‘weapons’ for ‘crowd control’ and bring them to conflict zones to use as aggressive force. Instead, led by media commentary, they focus on the crowds who are reacting to being policed with animals and blame them for any distress or injury to the animals. Very rarely does the public react with the same anger when humans are distressed or injured by police horses or dogs.

        Thus police abuse animals as ‘instruments of power’, like animated truncheons, in crowd control because for them it is a ‘win-win’.

    2. I must be silly because I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone bothers to ‘protest’ any longer.
      The powers that be always ensure that whatever message protesters were trying to get out is distorted using PTB’s corrupt institutions (in this case old favourites the Met & the BBC).
      Anyone still unable to comprehend that once all the bourgeois virtue signalers went home, sufficiently bathed in a fatuous glow which stemming from the false certainty they had ‘done good’ – unlike most of their whitefella friends and relations. yet blind Freddy could see that england’s irredeemably racist coppers were always going to create a violent, fraught situation that would allow the beeb & friends to tell racist middle england that they were right, these types weren’t about fixing england’s non existent racism, once ‘anyone who was anyone’ left. cops & provacateurs worked to show they were just about nihilistic window breaking, looting and cop bashing.
      The same old tosh that has been going on incessantly for the 60+ years my arse has been pointing to the ground.

      Demonstrating does little else than create a feel good in the minds of people who feel horrified by england’s overt racism, but are just too self interested/gutless/moronic to do anything effective about this shame job.

      If every time a human died in custody which is a daily occurrence in england, those responsible knew they were going to cop commensurate payback from decent citizens, this problem of deliberate institutionaLl racism would be over in a handful of months.
      Initially the state would come on all lawn order, but when that achieved nowt, law change or not, police racists would pull their heads in so far their shorts get soaked in the copper’s own spittle, dental floss trailing outta their trousers, the whole nine yards.
      Holding racist murdering thugs such as cressida dick responsible for their actions by a system untainted by ‘remember the blitz’ englander exceptionalism, is the one way thug coppers can be forced to quit blackfella bashing. Anything else is self indulgent tosh designed to permit white englanders to claim they are unconnected to england’s institutional racism.

      1. I think you are correct – although I passionately reject racism and have 100% empathy for everyone demonstrating against racism, I fear that the protests are going to achieve exactly zero change.

        The marches have all been under the banner of ‘Black Lives Matter’ – a three-word slogan which Cummings must be wishing he had invented first.

        Apart from a nice slogan, what is the marching all about? What political changes does BLM seek? Judging by American websites (1) reform policing (2) redistribute resources away from policing towards social welfare programmes (education, housing, healthcare, benefits, and similar ‘compensations’ for those trapped in poverty ‘ghettos’). Those aims might translate to the UK – stop ideology-driven ‘austerity’, pump more money into ‘left behind’ areas, have another inquiry about policing.

        But the Tories have already claimed to have done that. Theresa May said that ‘austerity is over’. According to the Daily Mail last week, Johnson has fallen out with Sunak because Johnson wants to deliver ‘feel good’ policies but Sunak is demanding a quick end to pandemic bail-outs and a second wave of stringent ‘austerity’ to claw back his ‘generosity’ to those government ‘lockdown’ threw out of work. Will British BLM marches support Johnson against Sunak? If so, what we have now is the best ‘reform’ the British government is offering. And if ‘no deal’ Brexit destroys what is left of the economy, expect Sunakto be back in 2021 to deliver swingeing austerity at his post-no-deal budgets. So much for structural changes in society to raise BAME citizens out of ghettos.

        And what specifically about racism or police abuses? Tories have already said ‘Britain is best country on earth to be Black’ (repeating the usual sub-Trump rhetorical dross) and I cannot imagine any Tory Home Secretary, especially not the viciously reactionary Priti Patel, cracking down on police. Just last year Johnson posed with police cadets as part of his campaign to become PM – media complained it ‘corrupted independence of police’ but nothing was done about it. The Tories see the police as their own resource, along with the military. And, for the most part, British police and military are happy to be co-opted into party politics and painted ‘true blue’. I think no Tory government would seriously challenge institutionalised racism in either police or military. I am afraid that any serious challenge to Tory rule by BLM would not receive the support of British police or military chiefs of staff as it has in America. If Johnson called in troops as Trump did to suppress protests, British generals and British troops would oblige. Just as they have stepped in to deliver help on Tory plans for a hard brexit (where troops will be used as supplementary border guards) or to manage the pandemic (where troops were used to deliver medical care, food parcels and to do other civilian tasks). Military serves Tory party aims. They are not loyal to us, the people, but to the Right and its institutionally racist Establishment. Tragically, British society is more ‘fascistic’ than even Trump’s America.

        As for Opposition parties, Labour leadership (yes, even under Corbyn) has a record of distancing itself from grassroots movements. Have Labour leaders, the PLP, and the party as a whole been on the streets to demonstrate about austerity? To demonstrate for a ‘green new deal’? To demonstrate against a ‘no deal brexit’? To march in solidarity with BLM? No. Some individual Labour MPs have marched – and been criticised for it by other MPs. The leadership and PLP sit back and do nothing to connect with grassroots movements for radical change. And I see no signs Kier Starmer is breaking that mould. Unlike the FarRight which sees even trivial protests as an opportunity to increase its public profile or gain political traction. How else has Farage managed to hog so many hours of BBC and other broadcast media? Or Yaxley-Lennon (aka ‘Tommy Robinson’) managed to get so many pages of newspaper free publicity? From exactly nowhere these FarRight scum have managed to infiltrate government and brought about what feels to most of us like a coup by a ‘Britannia Unchained’ cabal – we are governed not even by the Tory party but unelected extremist racist eugenicist Supremacists like Dominic Cummings.

        Unless protest movements become political movements with a manifesto and a strategy to get voted into power then exactly nothing will change. Unless old political parties like Labour start moving out of their ‘Westminster Bubble’ (racist) comfort zone to connect with ‘ordinary people’, their real grievances, and real needs, they will continue to look irrelevant and just a logjam blocking urgently needed radical change across all areas of British life.

        People on BLM marches have to ask themselves exactly what society they want and how to get it – do they take existing political parties like Labour, Greens, SNP etc and drive their manifesto and campaigns so they get elected to end racism for ever (which will only happen when you end the economic injustice that constructs racism to keep the 99% down and the 1% filthy rich) or do they create their own political parties. Or do they decide they cannot change anything through a system as corrupt as Westminster and look for more revolutionary paths.

        Thus far, vox pop interviews with marchers shows them expressing hurt and anger and demanding that they be heard by political leaders. They still think that if they ask in the correct way, someone white and powerful will listen and help? They think Johnson will float down from heaven and answer their prayers? Save prayers for God. To get political change, you have to act politically. Stop protesting and start campaigning!

        Fact is, unless the marches are less naive and get wise their passion and rage and hope will get them nowhere and they will wake up to a tomorrow full of the same old same old. That thought makes me so distressed I am biting my own arms and crying while typing this. Oh people, when will you learn?

    3. Marches and demonstrations facilitate a conversation, which is one of the results of the Yellow-Vest phenomon in France. Such conversations short circuit the main stream media’s monopoly. I only learned of the BBC’s collusion with the police that attacked the Yulgreave miners at the Poll Tax demo. It seems the Beeb altered the sequence of events so that it looked as though the miners attacked the police first. It was the police that stoked the anti-poll tax demo into a riot but it was the rioters that only attacked and damaged posher’s stuff. I’m certainly older than Urekismet and every demo I attended increaswed my political and cultural education. Oh and Yellowbnird; politics involves both protesting and campaigning. Why don’t you follow your own advice. These comment pages are of an even lower priority than expressing concern alongside others – that’s a demonstration.

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