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Thousands join Black Lives Matter protest in London

Socialapps.Tech 11 Jun 6

London (CNN)Thousands of peaceful protesters have gathered in London and across Europe for the second consecutive weekend, protesting the death of George Floyd and systemic racism in the United States and around the world.

Activists filled Parliament Square in the British capital on Saturday, defying calls from the government and police that people should stay home to limit the spread of Covid-19.

Crowds joined together to chant Floyd's name and "Black Lives Matter," at one point all taking a knee in unison.

"I feel that what happened in the US was just a spark, that sparked everywhere ... I do think George Floyd's death sparked it across the world and I think it's amazing," one protester told CNN. "It's a world-wide issue, no matter where you are. It's an issue everywhere, we all need to rise up," another added.

The rally follows similar demonstrations in the city in recent days. Last weekend protesters flocked to Trafalgar Square, and on Wednesday actor John Boyega gave an impassioned speech at an event in Hyde Park.

Protesters outside Parliament in London on Saturday.

And it comes despite warnings from politicians that mass gatherings should not take place while the country is in lockdown. "I completely understand people's desire to express their views and to have that right to protest, but the fact of the matter is, we are in a health pandemic across the United Kingdom," UK Home Secretary Priti Patel said Saturday during an interview with Sky News.

"I would say to those that want to protest, please don't," she added.

While little social distancing has been observed at the demonstration, people were seen handing out free masks and gloves to protect protesters from spreading the virus.

According to the Metropolitan Police, roads into Parliament Square were closed "to protect both protesters and vehicles" entering the area; while there is a substantial police presence, officers were not wearing protective riot equipment.

Meanwhile, in Paris, a similar gathering took place on Saturday.

Protesters there carried signs reading "Justice for George Floyd" and "Racism is also a pandemic" as they formed crowds outside the US embassy.

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