People in the UK are being encouraged to undertake a peaceful protest from their doorsteps today (June 3) in support of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter.
Stand Up to Racism (SUTR) is leading a “take the knee” protest to show support for the anti-racist protests that began in the US last week. The organisation is asking people to bend a knee at 6pm outside their homes.
George Floyd, 46, died in Minneapolis on May 25 following an altercation with police officers. Floyd, who was African American, was killed when a white police officer appeared to kneel on his neck as he lay on the ground during an arrest. Former police officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Results from an independent autopsy earlier this week confirmed that Floyd died due to to asphyxiation resulting from pressure applied to his back and neck. These results differed from an initial autopsy that did not find evidence of “traumatic asphyxia or strangulation”, and that underlying health conditions played a role in the unarmed man’s death [via BBC News].
The millions who stand against racism must be heard.
— Stand Up To Racism (@AntiRacismDay) June 2, 2020
SUTR said the “take a knee” initiative is inspired by the kneeling protest staged by American football star Colin Kaepernick in 2016 that has become synonymous with the Black Lives Matter movement.
In a statement Weyman Bennett of SUTR said: “Racism is the underlying condition that continues to kill black and BAME communities. The millions who stand against racism must be heard.
“Take the knee at 6pm because there is a boot on the neck of millions of people in the BAME community.
“Part of the cure for the virus of racism is to embrace anti-racism and anti-fascism.”
Large-scale Black Lives Matter protests have spread from the US to the UK and Europe. Today, thousands have turned up at London’s Hyde Park and Star Wars actor John Boyega was seen addressing a huge crowd.
Another protest is organised for Birmingham tomorrow (June 4) while a further demonstration is set to take place in Parliament Square at 1pm on Saturday (June 6).
The Metropolitan Police said its approach was to engage with protesters and encourage them to follow social distancing rules.