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George Floyd: Thousands of Black Lives Matter protesters gather in London
3 June 2020, 14:46
Thousands of people have gathered in Hyde Park to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement, and to protest the death of George Floyd in the US.
The demonstration is the second of its kind in less than a week following a protest on Sunday that saw thousands of people march to the US Embassy.
On Wednesday, demonstrators were spotted carrying placards in support of Black Lives Matter, and against police brutality - while others carried signs reminding protesters to adhere to social distancing.
Another quote: "I can't breathe" was also present on placards, making reference to the final words from Mr Floyd, an unarmed black man, as he lay face down on a street in Minneapolis with white police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on his neck.
LBC's correspondent Rachael Venables said there were "easily hundreds" of people making their way to the park in central London for the demonstration.
She said people were not only chanting George Floyd's name but also "Belly Mujinga" - the name of a 47-year-old rail worker in London who was infected with COVID-19 after being spat at while at work, later dying with the disease.
There’s easily hundreds of people already heading into Hyde Park for the start of the #BLMLDN protest this afternoon. Many carrying Black Lives Matter signs and placards @LBC pic.twitter.com/8q4Efrncze— Rachael Venables (@rachaelvenables) June 3, 2020
Enquiries were launched after Mrs Mujinga's death, but police ultimately decided no further action would be taken.
Meanwhile, the death of George Floyd last Monday has since revived debate over racist practices in the US judicial system and has inspired a legion of people across the US and the world to demonstrate in disgust at repeated cases of police brutality and racial inequality.
A joint statement from chief constables across the UK said earlier on Wednesday that they were "appalled and horrified" by the treatment of Mr Floyd, which has been widely witnessed in a now infamous video of his death.
It said: "We stand alongside all those across the globe who are appalled and horrified by the way George Floyd lost his life.
"Justice and accountability should follow."
The statement was issued by the chair of the National Police Chiefs' Council, the chief executive of the College of Policing and the president of the Police Superintendents' Association.
It also reminded people protesting in Hyde Park that "coronavirus remains a deadly disease and there are still restrictions in place to prevent its spread, which include not gathering outside in groups of more than six people."
Commenting on the recent protests in the US - many of which have sparked looting and unrest - the chief constables said: "We are also appalled to see the violence and damage that has happened in so many US cities since then.
"Our hearts go out to all those affected by these terrible events and hope that peace and order will soon be restored."
Chauvin, the police officer who knelt on Mr Floyd's neck for eight minutes despite the 46-year-old pleas that he couldn't breathe, has since been charged with third-degree murder.
The three officers he was on duty with at the time of Mr Floyd's death have also been fired from their jobs.