Matt Hancock urges public to avoid Black Lives Matter protests because of coronavirus

5 June 2020, 17:43

By Megan White

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has urged the public to avoid this weekend’s planned Black Lives Matter protests as coronavirus "remains a real threat."

Speaking at the daily coronavirus press briefing, Mr Hancock said he was “appalled” by George Floyd’s death in in Minneapolis on May 25.

Demonstrations are set to take place in London’s Parliament Square, Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester and Cardiff, among other cities.

But ahead of the protests, the Health Secretary urged those thinking of attending to stay away “for the safety of your loved ones.”

Mr Hancock said: "Like so many I am appalled by the death of George Floyd and I understand why people are deeply upset but we are still facing a health crisis and coronavirus remains a real threat.

A crowd of participants during a Black Lives Matter march down Park Lane
A crowd of participants during a Black Lives Matter march down Park Lane. Picture: PA

"The reason that it is vital that people stick to the rules this weekend is to protect themselves and their family from this horrific disease.

"So please for the safety of your loved ones do not attend large gatherings including demonstrations of more than six people."

Thousands of people gathered in Hyde Park on Wednesday before marching to Parliament Square and Downing Street.

Despite initially trying to maintain two-metres social distance, the crowd soon bunched up, making keeping space impossible.