'The event passed without issue': Police response to Black Lives Matter protest in Sheffield

A Black Lives Matter protest in Sheffield city centre passed without issue yesterday, according to South Yorkshire Police.

Sunday, 7th June 2020, 11:11 am
Updated Monday, 8th June 2020, 4:01 pm

Thousands gathered on Devonshire Green as part of a series of anti-racism demonstrations across the UK following the death of George Floyd while in police custody in the US city of Minneapolis last month.

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Cries of ‘say his name’ and ‘I can’t breathe’ as thousands gather in Sheffield f...

Mr Floyd died after a police officer knelt on his neck while he was detained on the ground.

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A demonstration as part of the Black Lives Matter movement was held at Devonshire Green in Sheffield yesterday (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

During the incident, which was filmed on a mobile phone, Mr Floyd could be heard saying ‘I can‘t breathe.’

Placards bearing Mr Floyd’s last ever words were on display at the demonstration.

Ministers had urged people to avoid mass gatherings this weekend because of concerns over the spread of coronavirus.

South Yorkshire Police said: “There were no arrests at all – no disorder or issues. The event passed without issue.”

But in London, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner has described assaults on officers after a demonstration in the capital yesterday as ‘shocking and completely unacceptable’.

Dame Cressida Dick said 14 officers were injured during clashes following a peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstration.

In a statement she said: “I am deeply saddened and depressed that a minority of protesters became violent towards officers in central London yesterday evening..

“This led to 14 officers being injured, in addition to 13 hurt in earlier protests this week.

“We have made a number of arrests and justice will follow. The number of assaults is shocking and completely unacceptable.

“I know many who were seeking to make their voices heard will be as appalled as I am by those scenes. There is no place for violence in our city.”

Demonstrations were carried out peacefully for much of the afternoon but disturbances began breaking out at around 6pm outside Downing Street.

Scuffles broke out when objects were thrown towards officers wearing protective gear, with mounted police called in to drive some of the demonstrators back along Whitehall.

Video footage appeared to show an officer colliding with a traffic light before their horse ran through a crowd of protesters, sending them scattering.

The Metropolitan Police later confirmed a female officer fell from the horse and was taken to hospital. Her injuries are not life-threatening.

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