Home Secretary Priti Patel has branded the Black Lives Matter demonstrations “dreadful” and opposed taking the knee as an anti-racism protest.
The cabinet minister criticised last summer’s protests – sparked by the death in the US of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer – that saw historical statues torn down and defaced “as not the right way at all”.
She also said she would not take the knee – the show of solidarity against racism which has been adopted by many sports stars and other public figures following Mr Floyd’s killing.
On the Black Lives Matter protests, the home secretary told LBC radio: “Last summer was quite a moment with all the protests that we saw taking place.
“We saw policing as well coming under a great deal of pressure through some of the protest.
“I don’t support protest and I also did not support the protests that were associated…”
Challenged over this, Ms Patel sought to clarify that she was not criticising the right to protest but the demonstrations last year.
“Those protests were dreadful,” she said.
Asked if she would take a knee, Ms Patel said: “No, I would not. I would not have at the time either.”
She added: “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. We saw statues being brought down.”
Asked if she agreed with the gesture more generally, she replied: “No.”