‘Hijacked By Extremists’: Boris Johnson Defends Churchill, Says People Should ‘Stay Away’ From Protests

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U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested that the British people “stay away” from ongoing demonstrations taking place in that country sparked by the death of George Floyd in the U.S.

During an eight-part tweet thread posted Friday, Johnson contended that the protests, though sparked by “legitimate feelings of outrage,” have been “hijacked by extremists intent on violence.” He also suggested that staying away was the “only responsible course of action.”

Calling the statue of former British PM Winston Churchill standing in London’s Parliament Square “a permanent reminder of his achievement in saving this country – and the whole of Europe – from a fascist and racist tyranny,” Johnson decried its vandalism last week as “absurd and shameful.”

“We cannot now try and edit or censor our past,” he wrote after noting that, despite some opinions Churchill had that would be considered “unacceptable” today, he “was a hero” and “fully deserves his memorial.”

The British prime minister expressed understanding for the “legitimate feelings of outrage” at the death of George Floyd as well as the “desire to protest against discrimination.”

“But it is clear that the protests have been sadly hijacked by extremists intent on violence,” Johnson wrote. “The attacks on the police and indiscriminate acts of violence which we have witnessed over the last week are intolerable and they are abhorrent. The only responsible course of action is to stay away from these protests.”

Demonstrations and protests that began in Minneapolis after Floyd’s death in police custody there have spread across the United States and overseas as well, some of which have been marked by violence, looting, and vandalism. (RELATED: Watch The Moment UK Protesters Chucked A Statue Of A Historical Slave Trader Into Bristol Harbor)

Earlier this month, Black Lives Matter protesters clashed with police outside Johnson’s residence.