Twenty-three arrests as thousands of protesters honour George Floyd in London

1 June 2020, 10:05 | Updated: 1 June 2020, 10:17

Thousands of people attended the protest in central London
Thousands of people attended the protest in central London. Picture: PA
Rachael Kennedy

By Rachael Kennedy

Twenty-three people have been arrested at a London protest held to pay tribute to the death of unarmed black man George Floyd, and to call for racial inequalities around the world to be addressed.

Police said the arrests on Sunday were made for a variety of offences, including for possession of an offensive weapon, assault on officers, obstructing a public carriageway and for coronavirus breaches.

All 23 remain in custody.

READ MORE: Shop owner who called police on George Floyd says he won't again until they 'stop killing innocent people'

Thousands of people took part in the protest, which started with demonstrators kneeling in Trafalgar Square, before marching on to the US Embassy.

Participation marked a call for authorities to address racist practices in the judicial system, while also giving a nod to the ongoing nightly protests across the US in the wake of Mr Floyd's death.

Thousands of people joined the protest in central London
Thousands of people joined the protest in central London. Picture: PA

Mr Floyd died in police custody last Monday in Minneapolis after being arrested for allegedly using a counterfeit note in a shop.

Video of the incident shows an unarmed and handcuffed Mr Floyd laying face down on the pavement after his arrest, with a white officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on his neck.

READ MORE: Derek Chauvin charged with third-degree murder over George Floyd death

Despite his pleas that he couldn't breathe, Chauvin did not move for at least eight minutes.

Mr Floyd's death has sparked waves of anger across the US over police brutality and racial discrimination, and has seen nearly a week of violent protesting nationwide.

Police arrested people for a range of offences at the protest
Police arrested people for a range of offences at the protest. Picture: PA

In London, 20-year-old Isabelle Orsini, who is originally from New York, told the Press Association the US had "a much deeper and darker history of black discrimination compared to the UK."

She added: "The reason people are so angry is because this is reopening wounds that go back hundreds of years.

"It is very important that we do whatever it takes to tell our government that racism will not be tolerated."

READ MORE: George Floyd protests: Violent clashes across America

George Floyd died last Monday in police custody
George Floyd died last Monday in police custody. Picture: PA

As the protest came to a close outside the US Embassy, some moved on to Grenfell Tower in north London, which was the scene of a huge fire in 2017 that killed 72 people - most of whom were black and minority ethnic.

Back in the US, the officer who was filmed kneeling on Mr Floyd's neck, Derek Chauvin, has since been arrested and charged with third-degree murder.

The three officers he was on duty with at the time have also been fired from their jobs.

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