The possibility of protests on the streets of London degenerating into violent confrontations akin to recent events in the United States is a major concern given the visible presence of the far-left activist group ANTIFA in such demonstrations, David Kurten, a member of the London Assembly, told Sputnik on Wednesday
LONDON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 03rd June, 2020) The possibility of protests on the streets of London degenerating into violent confrontations akin to recent events in the United States is a major concern given the visible presence of the far-left activist group ANTIFA in such demonstrations, David Kurten, a member of the London Assembly, told Sputnik on Wednesday.
Protests and riots have swept across the entire United States after George Floyd, an African-American male, died in the city of Minneapolis after being arrested on May 25. Demonstrators have called for justice and an end to racial inequality, although violence and looting have since broken out in numerous cities.
"It's very concerning because it seems that people are trying to use this [situation in the US] in order to go on the streets and protest and perhaps cause civil unrest," Kurten stated.
Several protests have taken place in the UK capital against the death of Floyd, and while demonstrations have been mostly peaceful, law enforcement officers arrested 23 individuals on Sunday. Kurten added that he did not wish to see an uptick in violence in the country, citing the multiple people who have been killed in the US during the public unrest.
"Now of course what happened there in the US, to George Floyd, was horrible, absolutely horrendous, but shouting at the British police and menacing behavior on the streets of London doesn't seem to have anything to do with it and it's very, very concerning. You've seen night after night in the US there's been looting and rioting, people being attacked and assaulted, killed even, on the streets by these rioters and I don't want that to happen in the UK," the London Assembly member said.
President Donald Trump has blamed the far-left group ANTIFA for the disorder and has vowed to designate the group as a terrorist organization for its alleged role in fermenting social unrest and violence in the US.
Whereas political opponents of President Trump in both the US and overseas have questioned the move, others are more sympathetic, believing ANTIFA's alleged role in fermenting violence is a cause for concern. Kurten said that the US president was right to have condemned the group, arguing it warranted such a designation considering the level of violence seen so far.
"I think President Trump is absolutely right to designate it as a terrorist organization. The thing with ANTIFA is that I don't know if it has any kind of central structure where it's easy to see what's going on. It's not a very transparent organization," the London Assembly member said.
"I don't know how it organizes itself but certainly you see people flying these ANTIFA flags and wherever that happens there seems to be trouble. So, I think it's absolutely right to designate it as a terrorist organization as there are people being attacked, assaulted, and killed where they are around and that needs to be stopped," Kurten remarked.
On May 26, a bystander's video was widely circulated online that showed a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on Floyd's neck while the latter was handcuffed and lying on the ground. Floyd was later transported to a hospital and pronounced dead.
The incident ultimately sparked protests, some turning violent, across the US. UK activists have also begun their own campaign of demonstrations, having gathered at both Downing Street, Trafalgar Square, and the US embassy over recent days.