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Patel hits out at BLM protests and disagrees with ‘taking a knee’

By Flora Thompson and Sam Blewett, PA

Home Secretary Priti Patel has said she disagrees with the act of taking a knee as a protest against racism, as she criticised Black Lives Matter demonstrations.

Ms Patel described the anti-racism protests – sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, USA, on May 25 last year after a white police officer held him down by pressing his knee into his neck for almost nine minutes – as “dreadful”.

She also said she would not take a knee – the act of solidarity against racism carried out in Mr Floyd’s memory – which has since been adopted by many sports stars and other public figures.

The Home Secretary told LBC radio: “Last summer was quite a moment with all the protest that we saw taking place.

“We saw policing as well coming under a great deal of pressure from some of the protest. I don’t support protest and I also did not support the protests that were associated…”

Interrupted, she sought to clarify that she was not criticising the right to protest but rather the “dreadful” action last year.

Asked if she would take a knee, Ms Patel said: “No, I would not. I would not have at the time either.

“There are other ways in which people can express their opinions. Protesting in the way in which people did last summer was not the right way at all.”

Asked if she agrees with the gesture more generally, she replied: “No.”

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