You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Black Lives Matter protesters chant 'Munira Mirza must go' in London

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 20/06/2020 Luke O'Reilly
UP NEXT
UP NEXT

Black Lives Matter activists called for the resignation of Munira Mirza, who will play a leading role in the forthcoming racial inequality commission.

Ms Mirza, who is Director of the Number 10 Policy Unit, has been heavily criticised for describing structural racism as “more of a perception than a reality”.

Protesters assembled in Trafalgar Square to listen to speeches today after marching from Hyde Park in the capital.

a person smiling for the camera: Downing Street adviser Munira Mirza is said to be chairing the new commission (Getty Images) © Provided by Evening Standard Downing Street adviser Munira Mirza is said to be chairing the new commission (Getty Images)

Barriers erected down Whitehall to separate anti-racism demonstrators from far right counter protesters last weekend were still in place, meaning attendees were forced to walk down the river bank to reach the square.

The protest was good natured, and there was no sign of any opposing groups.

Speeches were given by different groups from the base of Nelson’s Column.

Gallery: #BlackLivesMatter: Anti-racism protests across the world (Photo Services) 

In a rousing speech, organiser Imarn Ayton called for the removal of Ms Mirza, who is playing a major role in setting up the PM’s commission on racial disparity.

She said: “We are all here today because we know that black lives matter, we are all here today because we know that black is beautiful.

“And we are all here today because we know that it is time to burn down institutional racism.”

a group of people riding on the back of a bicycle: Protesters march through Westminster (Getty Images) © Provided by Evening Standard Protesters march through Westminster (Getty Images)

She continued: “Boris Johnson has responded to our cry, Boris Johnson has heard our cry and he has responded with a new race inequality commission.

“We appreciate a response, we like a response but we know that a grave mistake has been made, a catastrophic mistake has been made.

“Boris Johnson has appointed a lady called Munira Mirza to head up our race inequality commission.

a man and a woman walking down a street: Activist Imarn Ayton stands on top of a car near Parliament Square (Getty Images) © Provided by Evening Standard Activist Imarn Ayton stands on top of a car near Parliament Square (Getty Images)

“This is a woman who does not believe in institutional racism – she has argued it is more of a perception than a reality.”

While the protest passed peacefully, tensions flared about 15 minutes before the rally in Trafalgar Square was due to end after a man was stopped for allegedly racially abusing a black police officer.

A tight knot of people gathered around the police and the detained man, making it impossible for the police to leave the square with the suspect.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures after washing his hands at a sink in the playground during a visit to Bovingdon Primary School in Bovingdon, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire on June 19, 2020,  following the announcement of a one billion pound plan to help pupils catch up with their education before September after spending months out of school during the novel coronavirus COVID-19 lockdown. (Photo by Steve Parsons / POOL / AFP) (Photo by STEVE PARSONS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures after washing his hands at a sink in the playground during a visit to Bovingdon Primary School in Bovingdon, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire on June 19, 2020, following the announcement of a one billion pound plan to help pupils catch up with their education before September after spending months out of school during the novel coronavirus COVID-19 lockdown. (Photo by Steve Parsons / POOL / AFP) (Photo by STEVE PARSONS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The group only dispersed after several organisers climbed onto railings and pleaded with them to return to the speeches being given in front of the National Gallery.

A police officer said the individual had been arrested in connection with the alleged racial abuse, and for possession of stolen property relating to a bike.

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from Evening Standard

Evening Standard
Evening Standard
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon