Sadiq Khan "implores" people not to attend protests in London

12 June 2020, 13:03

By Fiona Jones

The Mayor of London said he supports the message of Black Lives Matter, however he is "extremely worried" about protests planned this weekend in central London.

"I'm asking anybody who is thinking about protesting in central London not to do so and to find other ways to make your views heard," Mr Khan said explaining he is concerned demonstrations to the further spread of Covid-19.

He said that US and Australia "have had confirmed cases where people on protests have caught the virus."

"I want you to ask yourself the question how you would feel if you returned home from a protest with the virus and gave it to an older relation," he said.

Mr Khan told LBC he also feared "far-right counter protests" could lead to "violence, vandalism or disorder" in the capital - this would divert attention from the important anti-racist message.

Sadiq Khan "implores" people not to attend protests in London
Sadiq Khan "implores" people not to attend protests in London. Picture: LBC/PA

"People who know me both when I was younger when I've been a lawyer, a Member of Parliament and a lawyer will know I'm not somebody who says these things lightly, I think protest is an integral part of living in a democracy, but actually we're in the midst of a global pandemic.

"We now know the extreme far-right will be having counter protests and for those reasons I'm asking people to please please please stay at home."

Sadiq Khan has told James O'Brien that "extreme far-right groups" have organised to come to central London to protect statues but their language implies their true reason is to clash with Black Lives Matter protests.

The Mayor said these groups have no reason to come to central London now as statues and monuments have been boarded up to protect them.

He also had concern for the welfare of police officers, telling James that 60 have been injured during the protests.