England

George Floyd death: 'Demonstrators' block M6 near Coventry

Prosters Image copyright Mariah Westlake
Image caption Protesters were spotted walking on the cariageway as vehicles were brought to a halt on the M6

Pedestrians, believed to be anti-racism demonstrators, blocked the M6 motorway following a protest in Coventry.

A group of people walked between junctions 3 and 2 in Warwickshire, leading to the closure of the road, police said.

It came on the day of a series of demonstrations sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month.

Also on Sunday, about 1,000 people gathered at a Black Lives Matter protest in Wolverhampton.

Image caption Hundreds attended a peaceful protest in Coventry

The Coventry protest saw hundreds of people kneel for a minute's silence in the city centre.

"It felt like a moment of collective prayer led by young people," BBC reporter Navkiran Mann tweeted from the scene.

But shortly after 18:00 BST a group of people walked on to the M6 to the north of the city, bringing traffic to a standstill

The road was reopened after about an hour when the group left at junction 2, but police warned of continuing tailbacks.

In Wolverhampton, actor Shereen Walker, one of the organisers, said the "peaceful, static protest" at West Park aimed to promote unity because "racism is alive".

The gathering coincided with a protest outside the US Embassy in London.

Large numbers of people congregated outside the embassy in Nine Elms, near Vauxhall, while other protests are taking place across the UK.

Image caption Protesters knelt for nearly nine minutes in Wolverhampton

At the event in Wolverhampton's West Park, protesters fell silent and knelt for eight minutes, 46 seconds to represent the time prosecutors said the police officer had his knee on George Floyd's neck.

Ahead of the protest, Ms Walker said prayers would remember "the victims of police brutality in America" and their families.

"I do believe that this is a heart problem, a problem inside of ourselves that needs to be addressed," she said.

"Let's appeal to one another to learn to love, recognise our responsibility to one another and activate change. Racism is alive."

Image caption Many protesters wore face masks because of the coronavirus pandemic

Mr Floyd's death triggered a wave protests across the United States as well as anti-racism demonstrations around the world.

Footage of his arrest shows a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on Mr Floyd's neck while he was pinned to the ground.

The officer was dismissed and has been charged with murder.

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