Boris Johnson has warned that the fight against racism could be undermined by a minority resorting to violence.
The Prime Minister said it was impossible to “ignore the depth of emotion” triggered by the spectacle of George Floyd, the African-American man who lost his life at the hands of the US police in Minnesota.
Mr Johnson was speaking after thousands of people protested in the UK over the weekend — with some violent attacks on police — and a statue in Bristol of a 17th-century slave trader pulled down and thrown into the harbour.
The Home Secretary Priti Patel said there should be no further public protests during the coronavirus pandemic and warned that some of those involved in violence or causing damage would face justice.
Police in Bristol say they’ve identified 17 suspects in relation to the toppling of the statue of Edward Colston, a 17th-century merchant who made a fortune from the slave trade. They’re appealing to anyone who filmed the incident to share the images with them.
Previously the police had said they were satisfied that their decision not to intervene had been the correct one. The statue had long been the target of campaigners who said Colston was not a man whose life deserved to be publicly commemorated.
Tens of thousands of people took part in the demonstrations over the weekend as part of the Black Lives Matter campaign. Despite government warnings of the health risks of being in a large group during the pandemic, many were determined to take part in marches for the first time.
Huw Edwards presents BBC News at Ten reporting by Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg, Jon Kay in Bristol, Rianna Croxford and Clive Myrie.
Covid-19 (Coronavirus) news from BBC