Anti-racism protests attended by thousands of people in London and other major British cities “undoubtedly” risk causing an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases again, British health minister Matt Hancock said on Sunday.
Thousands of people attended protests on Saturday to voice their anger at police brutality after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, ignoring government advice to avoid large gatherings due to the risk from coronavirus.
Asked during an interview on Sky News whether the number attending protests made an increase in COVID-19 cases more likely, Hancock said: “It is undoubtedly a risk.”
“I support very strongly the argument that is being made by those who are protesting … but the virus itself doesn’t discriminate and gathering in large groups is temporarily against the rules precisely because it increases the risk of the spread of this virus.”
In the video below SABC News gives the latest update on protests in London
Hong Kong protests
Dozens of people gathered in front of the US Consulate in Hong Kong on Sunday to protest the death of American George Floyd.
The protesters, mainly international students and members of Hong Kong’s League of Social Democrats, a political advocacy group for human rights, stood in pouring rain holding photos of Floyd and signs that read “Black Lives Matter”, a movement against racial injustice that has gone global in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s important to get our message across to others around the world to remind them that even though we are far away, we are with them 100% in spirit – black lives matter,” 28-year-old Quinland Anderson, who is British, said while holding a “BLM” banner.
The protest in Hong Kong came after thousands of people took to the streets in European and Asian cities on Saturday, demonstrating in support of U.S. protests against police brutality. Tens of thousands of people marched from the LincolnMemorial to the White House in Washington D.C. later in the day.
Police reminded protesters of Hong Kong’s limit of eight people per gathering, a rule put in place as the city seeks to contain the coronavirus.
The protesters left peacefully after reading a speech to the consul general condemning police brutality and racism.
In the video below is the latest update on protests in the US