LABOUR leader Sir Keir Starmer has “taken a knee” in Parliament today in solidarity with Black Lives Matters protesters.
He was pictured alongside his deputy Angela Rayner, and said on Twitter: “We kneel with all those opposing anti-Black racism #BlackLivesMatter”.
The phrase ‘take a knee‘ is a protest against the unfair treatment of Black Americans, coming from an American football play.
The poignant stance has been adopted by the Black Lives Matter movement and has swept the world in recent protests.
Sir Keir shared a picture ‘taking a knee’ this afternoon as demonstrators met in Parliament Square to mark George Floyd’s funeral.
Despite coronavirus fears, tens of thousands have protested in the wake of Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody, after officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into the handcuffed African-American’s neck for nearly nine minutes despite Floyd’s cries of “I can’t breathe”.
Parliament came to a halt at 11am for a minute’s silence in memory of Floyd, with Sir Keir addressing his murder afterwards.
The Labour leader said: “He must not become just another name. His death must be a catalyst for change.”
The official Downing Street spokesperson revealed that the prime minister and his cabinet did not take part in the minute’s silence.
Boris Johnson reportedly told ministers there is “so much more to do in eradicating prejudice and creating opportunity”.
The spokesperson said: “The PM began Cabinet by discussing the anger and the grief that is not just felt in the US but around the world including the UK following the death of George Floyd.”
“He said those who lead and govern simply cannot ignore the depth of emotion that has been triggered.”
“The PM said there was an undeniable feeling of injustice and that people from black and minority ethnic groups do face discrimination in education, in employment and in the application of criminal law.
“The PM said we’re a much, much less racist society than we were but we must also frankly acknowledge that there’s so much more to do in eradicating prejudice and creating opportunity.”
Last night, Boris Johnson sent a message to the UK, saying the Black Lives Matter protesters “cannot be ignored” but rioters must face the ‘”full force of the law“.
In a Twitter video message last night, he acknowledged the concerns of anti-racist protesters’ are “founded on a cold reality”.
However, he warned there would be consequences to those who damage property or harm the police.
Mr Johnson added he would not support those who break social distancing rules.
The Met Police said they arrested 65 people over the weekend and added dozens of officers suffered injuries.