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Tue, 7 July 2020

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Attacks on Black Lives Matter protests ‘deliberate strategy’ to boost Donald Trump election support base, says Lisa Nandy

Attacks on Black Lives Matter protests ‘deliberate strategy’ to boost Donald Trump election support base, says Lisa Nandy

Lisa Nandy

2 min read

Donald Trump’s attacks on Black Lives Matter demonstrations taking place in the US are a “deliberate strategy” to shore up his election support base, Lisa Nandy has claimed.

The Shadow Foreign Secretary told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show she did not know whether the President was “a racist or not a racist”, after she was asked if she agreed with her predecessor Emily Thornberry’s view that he was “an asteroid of awfulness”.

“What I do know is that in the run-up to the American elections, this is one of the ways that politicians try to activate their base – they divide people in order to try to advance their own cause,” Ms Nandy said.

“That has crept into our politics in Britain in the last few years.  And we are seeing, under the cover of Covid, other countries trying to do something similar and row back on people’s freedoms, human rights, the rule of law, democracy.

“This is why I have said this government cannot remain silent in the face of that.”

The frontbencher said while Labour had welcomed Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab’s condemnation of police brutality in Hong Kong earlier this week, “you have to be consistent, otherwise it diminishes us in the eyes of the world and we lose all moral authority”.

President Trump has downplayed the significance of the protests, sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on 25 May, while simultaneously sending in federal police and ordering the authorities to forcibly remove peaceful demonstrators.

Tens of thousands of people joined UK demonstrations on Saturday, including in London and Manchester and further marches were planned across the country on Sunday.

Ms Nandy said people taking part should ensure they adhere to social distancing guidelines, but that she was “very proud of those young people who are coming out and speaking up”. 

“I think it requires you to take an active stance – you cannot be silent in the face of racism and police brutality,” she added.

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