Black Lives Matter latest: UK protests turn violent as yobs deface Churchill statue and try to BURN Union Flag

YOBS defaced a statue of Winston Churchill, tried to burn a Union Flag at the Cenotaph and hurled fireworks and other objects at police officers as the Black Lives Matter protests turned violent in London yesterday.

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.

One yob tried to burn a Union Flag at the Cenotaph using a lighter.

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.

Cops allowed protesters to stamp on the statue, deface it and then roll it through the streets and into the river.

Avon and Somerset police have said they are investigating the event.

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

The Prime Minister 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.

  • STERLING: ‘FIGHT RACISM DISEASE’

    England star Raheem Sterling has supported Black Lives Matter protesters during the coronavirus crisis, saying “the only disease right now is the racism that we are fighting”.

    The Manchester City forward told BBC’s Newsnight: “This is the most important thing at this moment in time because this is something that is happening for years and years,”

    He added: “Just like the pandemic, we want to find a solution to stop it.

    “At the same time, this is what all these protesters are doing. They are trying to find a solution and a way to stop the injustice they are seeing and they are fighting for their cause.

    “As long as they are doing it peacefully and safely and not hurting anybody and not breaking into any stores, they continue to protest in this peaceful way.”

  • ‘WHICH ONE IS NEXT?’

    F1 star Lewis Hamilton has praised Black Lives Matter protesters for pulling down the Edward Coslton statue in Bristol.

    Hamilton, an outspoken supporter of BLM, tweeted: “Slave trader Edward Colston statue pulled down! Our country honoured a man who sold African slaves!

    “All statues of racist men who made money from selling a human being should be torn down! Which one is next?

    “I challenge government officials worldwide to make these changes and implement the peaceful removal of these racist symbols.”

  • DAILY CALLS

    Priti Patel has been having daily calls with police leaders over the Black lives Matter protests, Downing Street has said.

    The Home Secretary has had talks over the weekend and this morning with the Metropolitan Police and Avon and Somerset Police.

    While Prime Minister Boris Johnson received an update from Met chief Cressida Dick on Sunday night.

    “They have our full support in tackling any violence, vandalism and disorderly behaviour,” the Prime Minister's official spokesman said.

    “It is completely unacceptable they were subjected to attacks over the weekend.”

    Police commanders had to take into account a number of factors – including the safety of their officers – before deciding how to respond to protests, the spokesman said.

  • THIRTY SIX ARRESTED

    Thirty six people were arrested during the Black Lives Matter protests on Sunday, Scotland Yard has confirmed.

    The arrests were for a number of offences including violent disorder, criminal damage and assaulting police.

    Thirty five officers suffered injuries during the demonstrations with two needing hospital treatment.

    One of the pair had a head wound and the second suffered a shoulder injury after a bottle was thrown.

    Investigations are under way into a number of incidents including criminal damage to the Winston Churchill statue, and other sites and buildings of national importance – officers are seeking to identify those responsible.

    Commissioner Cressida Dick said: “The violent criminality we saw is disgraceful and will have been very frightening for others.

    “It will never be acceptable to attack police officers, damage property and leave others in fear of their safety.

    “We will be carrying out a thorough investigation so that those responsible for criminal acts are brought speedily to justice.”

  • BORIS: 'UK NOT RACIST'

    Boris Johnson does not think the UK is a racist country, his spokesman has said.

    The comments come after a weekend of mass anti-racism protests in major cities across Britain.

    The spokesman said: “The PM doesn’t doubt that that there continues to be discrimination and racism – but does not agree that this is a racist country.

    “We have made very significant progress on this issue but there remains more to do.

    “We will not be complacent in our efforts to stamp out racism and discrimination where it happens.”

  • JOSHUA HITS OUT

    WORLD heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has hit back at critics of his speech at a Black Lives protest saying “If you think I'm a racist, go f*** yourself”.

    The boxer, 30, gave an impassioned speech at a demonstration in his home town of Watford on Saturday.

    Using pal Reece Campbell's words, he said protesters were the vaccine to the virus of racism.

    The fighter said: “The virus has been declared a pandemic, it is out of control. And I'm not talking about Covid-19. The virus I'm referring to is called racism. We need to speak out. We need to be united.”

    In an expletive-laden riposte to those who questioned his intentions on social media, Joshua vowed to make good on his promise to help turn the talking into action.

    Joshua wrote: “'If you think I'm a racist, go f*** yourself! If you watch the full video, the speech was passed around for someone to read and I took the lead.  

    “I personally spoke from the heart about the Watford community, ideas of us personally investing 7 figures to create unity and opportunities and adding change to the African/Caribbean community.

    “I said what I said and I will act to make change.”

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