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George Floyd: Violence erupts at anti-racism protest in London | UK News

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Violence has erupted in London after a group of Black Lives Matter protesters clashed with the police, with bottles thrown and an officer unseated from their horse.

It came after a largely peaceful day of demonstrations against racism across the UK following the killing of George Floyd in the US.

Sky News correspondent Mark White is at the scene on Whitehall, near Downing Street and The Cenotaph.

He said the atmosphere had started to shift in the area, where around 400 to 500 people had gathered, and then “just after the thunderstorm… the crowd started throwing bottles and other objects at the police”.

:: LIVE – Chaos as police move in on Black Lives Matter protesters in London

A mounted police officer lays on the road after being unseated from their horse, during a demonstration on Whitehall, near the entrance to Downing Street in central London on June 6, 2020, to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after a police officer knelt on his neck in Minneapolis. - The United States braced Friday for massive weekend protests against racism and police brutality, as outrage soared over t
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One police officer was unseated from their horse – apparently after hitting a traffic light

Mounted officers charged down the street at around 6pm to push the protesters back.

One officer was knocked off their horse. Video on social media appeared to show they had ridden into a traffic light, with the horse bolting off down the street.

Some protesters had knelt down with their hands up as police attempted to push the bulk of the crowd down Whitehall.

The situation has now largely calmed down, but a large number of officers in riot gear are on the scene.



Loose police horse bolts amid London protests



Police horse bolts as London protests turn violent

“There’s no let up in the rain, but clearly that’s not bothering the protesters who are continuing to stand up to the police line,” said Mark White.

“This was what the Metropolitan Police were very concerned about. They had been trying to mount as low-key a policing operation as possible,” he added.

“They know of course that many of these protesters are very distrustful and do not view the police as being a friendly face, so having an overt police presence is difficult for these officers.

“They know that could have the potential for exacerbating the situation, antagonising the crowd, so that’s why senior officers decided the low-key approach would be the best approach – but obviously they’re not going to stick with that approach if their officers are coming under attack.”

Saturday’s demonstrations against racism saw thousands take to the streets of cities including London, Manchester, Cardiff, Luton, Leicester and Bath.

The Conservative Party candidate for London mayor, Shaun Bailey, had earlier warned the government against breaking up the protests in order to maintain social distancing.

He told Sky News: “If we do not allow this tension to be answered, if it is bottled up, then it will just spill out into the summer and be very tough for the police.”

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