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Mon, 13 July 2020

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Keir Starmer calls on Boris Johnson to ‘reassure black communities’ in UK in wake of George Floyd death

Keir Starmer calls on Boris Johnson to ‘reassure black communities’ in UK in wake of George Floyd death

Sir Keir Starmer asked the PM to urge Donald Trump to "respect human rights" (PA)

2 min read

The Labour leader has written to Boris Johnson urging him to "reassure black communities" and challenge Donald Trump over the United States’ response to peaceful protests.

America saw its ninth night of protests on Wednesday following the death of George Floyd in police custody, with some violent clashes between police and attendees.

Many US states have faced criticism for their response to peaceful protests, most notably after tear gas and rubber bullets were used to disperse a crowd outside the White House earlier this week.

In the wake of the unrest, the Labour leader has written to the Prime Minister to express his "shock and anger at the killing of George Floyd".

And he has urged Mr Johnson to spell out "what the British government is doing to urge the United States and President Trump to respect human rights and the fundamental democratic right to peaceful protest".

“I am sure that you share my strongly held belief that the UK has a moral obligation to speak out in defence of these values, no matter where in the world they are challenged," he wrote.

And the Labour leader called on Mr Johnson to explain what the Government is doing to “reassure black communities in the UK”.

“Many of our own black citizens seeing these images also feel palpable anger and anxiety,” he said.

And he added: “The death of George Floyd has justifiably prompted anger and a burning desire for fundamental change.

“The UK must be clear in showing that we understand this frustration and that we are ready to stand together with those who seek to tackle the injustice and inequality that remains within all our societies.”

Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday, Mr Johnson said: “I think that what happened in the United States was appalling and inexcusable. We all saw it on our screens."

But he added: “I perfectly understand people’s right to protest at what took place, although obviously I also believe that protests should take place in a lawful and reasonable way.”

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