Police and protesters clash at London's Black Lives Matter protest as 23 arrested

31 May 2020, 18:37

By Matt Drake

Police and protesters have clashed during London’s Black Lives Matter protest with 23 arrested.

Thousands marched on the US Embassy today as part of a Black Lives Matter demonstration against the death of George Floyd who died in police custody.

Police made five initial arrests during the protests. Three arrests were for breaches of COVID legislation and two were for assault on police.

But the police confirmed six more arrests via Twitter, saying: "Police have made six further arrests following the gathering today in central London. The arrests vary in offences from the possession of an offensive weapon to assault on police, obstructing a public carriageway to breaches of COVID legislation.

"The six arrested have been taken into police custody. Government restrictions to control the spread of Coronavirus remain in place. Police are encouraging our communities to comply with the regulations to keep everyone as safe as possible."

Eyewitnesses have reported scuffles between the police and protesters at Westminster. Also, an officer has been overheard saying to arrest people for coronavirus breaches.

Protesters are also being moved on and the police are trying to prevent people from entering Westminster Square. LBC's Rachel Gerrish said: "The mood’s suddenly turned outside Big Ben. Scuffles between police and protestors - I’ve seen drinks thrown, but barely any social distancing.

"I literally couldn’t move anywhere else and somehow got caught up in the fracas. Just overheard an officer saying to arrest people for COVID breaches."

Police have made five arrests during the gathering
Police have made five arrests during the gathering. Picture: Station Owned

The Met Police confirmed that six people have been arrested in total.

Writing on Twitter, they said: "Police are aware of demonstrators gathering outside the US Embassy in #NineElms this afternoon. Officers are on scene & engaging with those in attendance. An appropriate policing plan is in place.

"Police have made six further arrests following the gathering today in central London. The arrests vary in offences from possession of an offensive weapon to assault on police, obstructing a public carriageway to breaches of COVID legislation.

"The six arrested have been taken into police custody. Government restrictions to control the spread of Coronavirus remain in place. Police are encouraging our communities to comply with the regulations to keep everyone as safe as possible."

Thousands of people marched near the US Embassy in Battersea, south London.

Chants of "say his name: George Floyd" and "black lives matter" are coming from the crowds making their way along roads near the river.

Traffic has been stopped in several places and protesters are receiving applause and horns are being sounded on passing cars.

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