Tuesday, 5 July 2022 – 03:07

Priti Patel says she ‘wouldn’t take the knee’ and describes Black Lives Matter protests as ‘dreadful’

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel has said she would not take the knee for the Black Lives Matter campaign and did not support the protests that took place last summer.

Speaking on LBC on Friday Morning, Ms Patel was asked whether she would ‘take the knee’ in support of Black Lives Matter (BLM) demonstrations, replying “No I would not, I would not have at the time either. There are other ways in which people can express their opinions”.

The Home Secretary also described BLM protests that took place in summer 2020 as “dreadful”, and in referring to protests around street names and statues related to historic slave traders she told LBC that she “didn’t support that attempt to rewrite history”.

Protests erupted in the United States and around much of the world last year after George Floyd, an African American man, was killed by Minneapolis police. Floyd’s deaths led to widescale protests and discussions around racism and the disproportionate outcomes suffered by some BAME people in the criminal justice system. 

In London, a number of mostly peaceful protests took place, though some turned violent, with bottles, flares and other items thrown towards police and Downing Street. A number of statues were damaged, including a statue of Sir Winston Churchill in Parliament Square which was defaced by protesters. In Bristol, Black Lives Matter protesters tore down a statue of Edward Colston – a former slave trader – and threw it into the harbour.

Since the protests, a number of statues across the UK have been taken down, while reviews have taken place to consider whether it is appropriate to remember slave traders through statues and other memorials.

In sport, many professional players have been taking the knee before matches, however, some have now stopped this practice. 

In recent times and on social media following the interview, there have been mixed opinions on taking the knee in support of the protests, with different opinions on how best to tackle racism and hate in modern society. 

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