There are more protests planned for this weekend after the death of George Floyd, with the next peaceful demonstration taking place in Parliament Square at 1pm on Saturday (June 6), followed by another event on Sunday (June 7) at the US Embassy at 2pm.
The 46-year-old black man died after being arrested and restrained by police in the US city of Minneapolis. A video of the actions preceding Floyd’s death surfaced last week, showing a white police officer pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck. The police officer, Derek Chauvin, has since been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, with the charge upgraded to second degree murder earlier this week. The video sparked outrage and violent protests in the US, and there have since been protests around the world.
The first demonstrations took place in London last weekend on Sunday May 31, as people gathered in Trafalgar Square and outside the US Embassy in Battersea. Londoners came together again for a peaceful protest in Hyde Park on Wednesday (June 3). There have been reports of there being thousands of protestors involved – among them Peckham-born actor John Boyega. Speaking in Hyde Park, the ‘Star Wars’ star gave a passionate and emotional speech.
Addressing the crowd, he said: ‘I need you to understand how painful it is to be reminded every day that your race means nothing and that isn’t the case any more; that was never the case any more.’
The actor urged the crowds to keep the protest ‘as peaceful as possible’. He added: ‘They want us to mess up, they want us to be disorganised, but not today.’
The events are being organised by Black Lives Matter London, which is encouraging people to wear masks and observe social distancing.
The UK Black Lives Matter official Twitter account has said that they are not affiliated with the group organising the protests, but has tweeted guidance on how to stay safe at the demonstrations.
An official George Floyd Memorial Fund crowdfunding campaign has now raised more than $13 million. The Minnesota Freedom Fund, a non-profit community organisation which helps protesters who have been arrested and can’t afford bail, has raised around $20m in donations. The group, which is also part of a larger movement campaigning to end cash bail in the United States, is now calling on people to donate to other organisations, including Black Visions Collective and Reclaim the Block.