Defying lockdown, Londoners rally outside US embassy

Hundreds of Londoners defied coronavirus restrictions and rallied outside the US embassy on Sunday in solidarity with protests raging across the United States over the death of an unarmed black man during an arrest.

Demonstrators stop a bus as they block the street in Sloane Square in London on May 31, 2020 after marching on the US embassy to protest the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest in Minneapolis, USA. - Hundreds gathered in central London and marched to the US Embassy to protest the death of an unarmed black man in Minneapolis while in police custody that has sparked days of unrest in the US city and beyond. Daniel Leal-Olivas / AFP
The death of George Floyd in Minnesota has sparked five consecutive nights of often violent protests that resulted in National Guard troops patrolling majority US cities on Sunday.

The London protesters chanted: "No justice, no peace" and "Enough is enough" as they marched towards the US embassy compound on the southern bank of the Thames River.

Shouting "Say his name! George Floyd!" they held up "Black Lives Matter" signs outside the embassy building.

Earlier, a few hundred had earlier gathered in Trafalgar Square in the heart of London for a vigil that saw everyone kneel for nine minutes -- the amount of time the policeman kneeled on Floyd's neck.

When you take someone's life, the way that happened, then it does something to you wherever you are in the world -- because it was totally wrong," one demonstrator, Trevor Joseph, told AFP.

"It's a worldwide thing. It happens in America and we have to show solidarity," he added.

"I'm here because I'm tired, I'm fed up with it. "When does this stop?" another protester, Doreen Pierre, told AFP.

"What makes that okay in anybody's mind? Don’t you have wives, don’t you have children watching you do this? How is that okay?"

A protest march also took place in the northern English city of Manchester, at which local media said hundreds took part.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab called footage of the incident "very distressing".

But he refrained from commenting on US  President Donald Trump's explosive tweets and controversial public statements about the protests.

"I've long kept to the self-imposed guidance not to comment on what President Trump says," Raab told the BBC.

Authorities will officially allow groups of up to six to gather in England -- and up to eight in Scotland -- starting on Monday as more than two months of restrictions begin to ease.

Topics: London , George Floyd , Donald Trump , Trevor Joseph
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