UK Home Secretary Under Fire over Black Lives Matters Comments
Story Code : 916041
The home secretary also said she would not personally adopt the symbol of injustice, adding there were “other ways in which people can express their opinions”, The Independent reported.
During an interview withLBC Radio, Patel appeared to suggest she did not support protests at all, before clarifying she opposed the BLM demonstrations that swept the country last summer, saying, “Those protests were dreadful”.
Criticising the targeting of statues, Patel added, “Protesting in the way in which people did last summer was not the right way at all.
“We saw statues being brought down,” she said, adding, “Some councils making, quite frankly, a stance around statues and street names. There are other ways in which those discussions can take place.”
And, asked if she “didn’t agree with taking the knee per se, at all”, she said, “No.”
Demonstrations were held across the UK last summer, in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in the US, and in protest against discrimination in this country.
The vast majority of the events were peaceful, although there were clashes between protesters and police in London. Some statues were also vandalised, including one of Winston Churchill.
Most famously, the statue of 17th century slave trade Edward Colston in Bristol was toppled from its pedestal and pushed it into the city’s harbour.
Clive Lewis, the Labour MP forNorwich South, said, “Priti Patel’s views on this are well known. But surely as a government that talks about bringing people together, a way of bringing people together is to show empathy for the pain that protesters feel about racial injustice."
“It would have been good for the home secretary, whatever she thinks about protests or taking a knee or not, to show some empathy,” Lewis added.
He added, “This government seems intent on stoking division, on both sides of this issue, and they need to stop."
“As the US has recently shown, politicians need to be aware their language can have serious repercussions,” he said.
David Lammy, the shadow justice secretary, tweeted that Black Lives Matter “was one of the only parts of 2020 that gave me hope."
“Young and old, black and white, rich and poor came together across the world to stand up to racism,” he said.
He added that Patel calling the protests “dreadful” showed that the Conservatives had “learned nothing”.
In her interview Patel said, “Last summer was quite a moment with all the protest that we saw taking place.”
She added, “We saw policing as well coming under a great deal of pressure from some of the protest. I don’t support protest and I also did not support the protests that were associated...”
Interrupted, she sought to clarify that she was not criticising the right to protest itself, but rather the “dreadful” action taken by BLM marchers.