Hundreds of people gathered in Swindon town centre this afternoon to stand in solidarity with America protesters following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer.
The event, organised by climate change group Swindon Earth Strike, saw protesters speak up about racism in society – dropping to their knees at 1.30pm.
Police were at the demonstration in Regent Circus, watching over protesters. The event went on without incident – no arrests are believed to have been made.
More than 500 protesters loosely abided by social distancing rules in place to fight coronavirus.
Police chiefs’ comment
In a statement issued in the wake of Mr Floyd’s death, the National Police Chiefs’ Council – representing senior officers across England and Wales – said: “We stand alongside all those across the globe who are appalled and horrified by the way George Floyd lost his life.
“Justice and accountability should follow.
“We are also appalled to see the violence and damage that has happened in so many US cities since then. Our hearts go out to all those affected by these terrible events and hope that peace and order will soon be restored.
“In the UK we have a long established tradition of policing by consent, working in communities to prevent crime and solve problems. Officers are trained to use force proportionately, lawfully and only when absolutely necessary. We strive to continuously learn and improve.
“We will tackle bias, racism or discrimination wherever we find it.
“Policing is complex and challenging and sometimes we fall short. When we do, we are not afraid to shine a light on injustices or to be held to account. The relationship between the police and the public in the UK is strong but there is always more to do.
“Every day, up and down the country, officers and staff are working to strengthen those relationships and address concerns. Only by working closely with our communities do we build trust and help keep people safe. We know people want to make their voices heard.
“The right to lawful protest is key part of any democracy, which UK police uphold and facilitate.
“But coronavirus remains a deadly disease and there are still restrictions in place to prevent its spread, which include not gathering outside in groups of more than six people.
“So for whatever reason people want to come together, we ask that people continue to work with officers at this challenging time.”