People in Britain are being urged to ‘take the knee’ on their doorsteps on Wednesday in a show of solidarity with activists in the United States.
Protests have spread across the US and all around the globe in response to the death of George Floyd, an unarmed father who was filmed lying face-down on the road, begging for air with a white officer’s knee on his neck.
Stand Up to Racism (SUTR) is asking people to ‘Take the Knee for George Floyd’ at 6pm tomorrow as part of a socially distanced day of action against racism.
The action was inspired by American football star Colin Kaepernick, who refused to stand during the national anthem to call attention to racial inequality and police brutality.
SUTR campaigners are also calling for a public inquiry into the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on BAME communities, as the government says people from ethnic minority backgrounds will not be placed in an ‘at risk’ Covid-19 category.
A separate protest has been planned in Hyde Park in London at 1pm on Wednesday, while a further demonstration is scheduled for 1pm on Saturday in Parliament Square.
In a statement, SUTR said: ‘We are outraged that yet another black person has been killed at the hands of the police in the USA.
‘The events unfolding in the USA are a product of hundreds of years of racism and oppression of black communities, which has led to countless lives lost.
‘The events also take place in the context of black communities disproportionately dying as a result of and infected by coronavirus, the highest levels of unemployment, which is rising fast due to the rapid economic contraction taking place.
‘So black people are disproportionately affected by police brutality, unemployment, economic hardship and the coronavirus.’
Weyman Bennett of SUTR said: ‘Racism is the underlying condition that continues to kill black and BAME communities.
‘Take the knee at 6pm because there is a boot on the neck of millions of people in the BAME community. Part of the cure for the virus of racism is to embrace anti-racism and anti-fascism.’
Arrangements for the day of action come after protesters took to the streets across the UK at the weekend to declare Black Lives Matter.
Mr Floyd’s death was declared a homicide in an official post-mortem examination on Monday.
An autopsy found he had suffered a cardiac arrest while being restrained by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
The findings were released shortly after those of a private examination carried out by medical examiners hired by the Floyd family ruled his death as murder, due to asphyxia caused by sustained forceful pressure to his neck.
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