British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday warned that the UK anti-racism protests had been “hijacked by extremists” who were attacking national monuments in an effort to “censor our past”.
Taking to Twitter, PM Johnson issued a statement, saying “It is clear that the protests have been sadly hijacked by extremists intent on violence”.
But it is clear that the protests have been sadly hijacked by extremists intent on violence. The attacks on the police and indiscriminate acts of violence which we have witnessed over the last week are intolerable and they are abhorrent. 7/8
— Boris Johnson #StayAlert (@BorisJohnson) June 12, 2020
Police have boarded up prominent statues around London ahead of a new wave of demonstrations and rallies this weekend.
Violent protests have taken place across the world following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man killed in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.
The Prime Minister called the targeting of Churchill “absurd and shameful”.
“The statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square is a permanent reminder of his achievement in saving this country — and the whole of Europe — from a fascist and racist tyranny”, Johnson added.
“Yes, he sometimes expressed opinions that were and are unacceptable to us today, but he was a hero, and he fully deserves his memorial,” Johnson further posted.
Protesters blame Churchill for policies that led to the death of millions during famine in the Indian state of Bengal in 1943.
Earlier in the month, Johnson was sickened and appalled by the death of Floyd’s during an arrest and said that racist violence has no place in society.
One week after Floyd died in Minneapolis, an autopsy blamed his videotaped death squarely on a white police officer who pinned him down by the neck with his knee for nearly nine minutes as Floyd pleaded, “I can’t breathe!”
The unrest has been the most widespread in the United States since 1968, when cities went up in flames over the slaying of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr, and rekindled memories of 1992 riots in Los Angeles after police were acquitted in the brutal beating of black motorist Rodney King.