What started out as a predominantly peaceful anti-racism protest in London descended into chaos with demonstrators clashed with mounted police officers.
Thousands of people gathered in Parliament Square on Saturday to oppose racism and call for an end to police brutality, echoing the rage of US protesters following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The demonstrations took a turn when violence erupted near Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s residence on Downing Street.
Protesters reportedly threw bottles at police, prompting mounted officers to charge at protesters to push them back.
One officer had to be hospitalised after she was thrown from her horse.
Footage posted to Twitter showed the officer slamming into a traffic light pole while attempting to push back protesters.
Police said the officer and horse were both OK.
“The officer is currently in hospital, receiving treatment for her injuries which are not life threatening. The officer fell from her horse, and we are examining the full circumstances of what took place,” Metropolitan Police said.
“The horse, uninjured, made its own way back to the stables, nearby.”
Later a group of protesters attacked a dummy resembling US President Donald Trump, while others threw flares.
For about 10 minutes protesters threw flares and fireworks at police as they formed a line in front of the Downing Street gates.
More than a thousand protesters marched past the US Embassy on the south bank of the River Thames.
Thousands of protesters also crowded into the square outside parliament, holding “Black Lives Matter” placards and ignoring government advice to avoid large gatherings due to the risk from coronavirus.
Police said 14 people were arrested and ten officers were injured during the protest.
The protest in London was just one of many demonstrations being held around the world in response to the death of African-American man George Floyd.
Floyd died on May 25 after officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes while arresting him.
Chauvin has since been fired and charged with second degree murder over the death.
If convicted he could face up to 40 years behind bars.
The three other police officers present at the scene during the killing have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
Demonstrations also took place in other British, European and Asian cities on Saturday, after tens of thousands of people chanting “no justice, no peace, no racist police” marched through central London on Wednesday.
Reclusive street artist Banksy published a new artwork online showing the US flag being set alight by a candle that formed part of a memorial to an anonymous, black, silhouetted figure.
Before Saturday’s protest in London, the US ambassador to Britain condemned Floyd’s death and said the United States needed to do more to fight racism and injustice.
— with Reuters