THE UK home secretary, Priti Patel, has described the Black Lives Matter(BLM) protests last year as ‘dreadful’ and said she did not agree with the gesture of taking the knee.
The protests took place in more than 260 towns and cities in June and July across the country. Those were the largest anti-racism protests in Britain for decades.
During a radio interview, Patel said she did not support the protests. When asked if she would be prepared to take the knee, she said: “No I wouldn’t, and I would not have done at the time either,” reported The Guardian.
“There are other ways in which people can express their opinions, protesting in the way that people did last summer was not the right way at all … I didn’t support the protests. Those protests were dreadful.”
Patel said that policing was under ‘great pressure’ from some of the protest.
But she later clarified that she was not criticising the right to protest but the ‘dreadful” action last year.
Patel’s comments came after the Commons leader, Jacob Rees-Mogg, accused the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, of overseeing “loony leftwing wheezes” following the creation of a landmark commission to improve diversity in the capital’s public spaces.
As part of the demonstrations in the UK, statues of slave traders including that of Edward Colston in Bristol, were toppled and a memorial to Sir Winston Churchill in central London was vandalised with the words ‘is a racist’.
According to a Guardian investigation, scores of tributes to slave traders, colonialists and racists had been taken down or were to be removed across the UK, with hundreds of others under review by local authorities and institutions.
The protests were sparked by the death of George Floyd while in the custody of police in Minneapolis. Outrage grew at the fate suffered by Floyd, whose heart stopped on 25 May as a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, according to a medical examiner, with solidarity protests held across the world.