Black Lives Matter demonstration planned in Sheffield today
A Black Lives Matter demonstration is due to take place in Sheffield today as similar anti-racism protests are held across the UK.
The event, described by organisers as a peaceful demonstration, will take place on Devonshire Green at 1pm in protest at the death of George Floyd while in police custody in the US city of Minneapolis last month.
Mr Floyd died after a police officer knelt on his neck while he was detained on the ground.
During the incident, which was filmed on a mobile phone, Mr Floyd could be heard saying ‘I can‘t breathe’.
A post on the Facebook event page advertising the protest in Sheffield reads: “Organised by young people, Sheffield stands in solidarity with the protests and uprisings in US states that are demanding justice for the lives of black people murdered, including on camera and in broad daylight, due to police brutality.”
Ministers have urged people to avoid mass gatherings this weekend, with demonstrators expected to converge on Parliament Square in London today and the US Embassy in the capital tomorrow.
And police have warned that mass demonstrations could be unlawful during the coronavirus pandemic.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that he was ‘appalled’ by the death of Mr Floyd, but stressed that the UK was still facing a health crisis and coronavirus remained a ‘real threat’.
Mr Hancock said he could understand why people were ‘deeply upset’, but said in a bid to reduce the spread of coronavirus said people in the UK should not attend large gatherings.
He added: “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.
“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.”
His comments were echoed by Home Secretary Priti Patel.