A fight broke out Wednesday between London police and protesters as thousands of people gathered for a Black Lives Matter demonstration outside British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s residence on Downing Street.
It’s kicking off now. Unclear exactly what started things. Police appeared to attempt to take a man from the crowd and pandemonium ensued pic.twitter.com/6XPGXV2HKt
— Mattha Busby (@matthabusby) June 3, 2020
Protests have taken place in the British capital since last week and have largely been peaceful, with speeches and gatherings taking place in Hyde Park and Parliament Square, according to LBC News. The demonstration had been organized by Black Lives Matter groups to protest the death of George Floyd, who was killed by police May 25 in Minneapolis.
After major cities in the United States saw large protests after Floyd’s death, similar demonstrations took place in cities across the world. Thousands gathered outside the US Embassy in London on May 31 to participate in Black Lives Matter protests. (RELATED: Paris Bans Protest Over Police Brutality, Citing Potential Social Unrest And Virus Spread)
Wednesday’s protest was initially peaceful but tensions rose as people moved to Downing Street and began chanting outside the prime minister’s residence. Officers stood guard outside the gates of the residence as nearby buildings and cars were vandalized with spray paint. Eventually protesters and police scuffled with each other, with a local reporter referring to the situation as “the moment of maximum danger.”
— James Twomey (@twomey_james218) June 3, 2020
Organizers appeared to be successful in calming down tensions, although there were some instances of violence throughout the day. Later in the evening, a journalist was seen bleeding from the head after appearing to be struck by protesters, LBC news reported, and an Australian reporter was also attacked by a man with a screwdriver while covering the London protests.
Prime Minister Johnson, during a press conference Wednesday, condemned the death of George Floyd as “inexcusable,” but urged protesters to remain lawful and behave “in a reasonable way.”