Demonstrators filled London‘s Parliament Square holding placards reading “black lives matter“, “white silence is violence” and “the UK is not innocent”, while thousands also turned out across Cardiff, Bristol, Manchester, Sheffield, Leicester, Bath and Birmingham.
Government ministers urged people not to gather in large groups to protest, with police warning that protests could be unlawful under coronavirus lockdown rules. The demonstrations were largely peaceful apart from a clash between protesters and police near Downing Street on Saturday evening which saw a police officer knocked from a horse and graffiti daubed on the Cenotaph in Whitehall.
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London protesters march on US embassy
Protesters dropped to one knee and raised their fists in the air outside the US embassy in central London, where Nine Elms Lane was flooded with demonstrators and chants of "silence is violence" and "colour is not a crime".
Sky News has the aerial view:
And here's some footage from the ground:
Protester Jonathan Fashanu, who, alongside his partner Seleste, brought their two children - aged two and nine months - to the central London demonstration.
"We just don't want the same thing to happen when they grow up and they get older," the 35-year-old told the PA news agency.
"We had our dads fight for the same thing, it's always been an issue, racism is such a systemic and ingrained problem. And we just thought that if we don't take the steps now to come out now and do something about it, we're not giving them a fighting chance to deal with these issues."
He added: "When you think about it, it takes so long for behaviour to change, and we always thought when they grow up they wouldn't have the same problem we went through. It's going to be 20 years - so that's why we decided to involve them as well, so when they grow up they know they at least stood for something."
Dublin protests George Floyd's death
Thousands of people have turned out in Dublin to protest, chanting "George Floyd, say his name" and "no justice, no peace". Some held placards saying "am I next?" and "end systemic racism".
With the largest push for racial justice in recent years coming in the midst of a pandemic, there are likely vast numbers forced to forego attending protests over health fears.
For those who are wondering how they can help the movement for change here and in the US, Sabrina Barr has compiled a list of relevant organisations taking donations and petitions for justice, including the case of Belly Mujinga, a Transport for London worker who died with coronavirus after being spat at by a man who said he was infected.
UK organisations in the list include Stop Watch UK and the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust.
'People of colour are being failed by the white system': Banksy creates new artwork
The reclusive street artist has created a new piece in support of the protests.
"At first I thought I should just shut up and listen to black people about this issue. But why would I do that? It's not their problem, it's mine," Banksy wrote on Instagram.
"People of colour are being failed by the system. The white system. Like a broken pipe flooding the apartment of the people living downstairs. The faulty system is making their life a misery, but it's not their job to fix it. They can't - no-one will let them in the apartment upstairs.
"This is a white problem. And if white people don't fix it, someone will have to come upstairs and kick the door in."
Banksy via Instagram/Reuters
Anthony Joshua delivers powerful speech in Watford
The boxing heavyweight champion made his way to a protest in Watford on a scooter and with the support of crutches, congratulating those gathered there for demonstrating peacefully and urging people to reinvest in black-owned businesses.
"We can no longer sit back and remain silent on this senseless, unlawful killings and sly racism on another human being - based only on what? Their skin colour," the 30-year-old said.
"We need to speak out in peaceful demonstrations - just like today, so well done Watford, inject the vaccine. We must not use a demonstration for selfish motives and turn it into rioting and looting. We need to be united in non-violent demonstrations.
"Show them where it hurts. Abstain from spending your money in their shops and economies and invest in black-owned businesses. And that's for all communities if you want to uplift yourself, invest in your own businesses.
"We have to engage with the youth, and put an end to black youth gang culture ... It's done, trust me. Unless you want to be sitting in jail spending years upon years of your only life that you have thinking 'they can lock the locks, but they can't stop the clocks', that's all done because there's too much cameras, too much intelligence ... Gang life is finished."
Jennifer, a 26-year-old from south east London of Nigerian heritage tells our correspondent Gemma Fox: "I'm here because my heart can't contain the amount of deaths that are happening in our community any longer. Enough is enough, black people are dying at a shocking rate
"Nobody here who is protesting believes that only black lives matter, but at this moment in our time, in our history, black people’s lives are the only ones at risk.
"We cannot walk down the street without feeling unsafe, we cannot go to a supermarket without being followed, we cannot anywhere without bringing up suspicion, we have young men who are pulled to the side and stopped and searched for absolutely nothing.
"British colonialism the thing that started this all off in the first place. When I went to university at Coventry it was completely different experience than London, racism was very prevalent, I lived next door to a racist.
"We had EDL marches. We had police that would rough up and abuse their authority when dealing with young black men. I’m enraged when I see an EDL march, because why should that still go on? It should not be allowed to happen. Their belief is that only the white English that matters.
"When I saw the George Floyd video I was heartbroken. It was just a flagrant disregard for human life, the killing was nonchalant, it was so blasé, it was heartbreaking.
"If I could I would tell Boris, I would tell Trump, you are the problem. We need to dismantle every police unit and start again, find the people that really want to protect our community. But I have absolutely no hope when we have people like Boris and Trump in office."
Thousands protest in Cardiff as councillor apologises for 'all lives matter' statement
Around 2,000 people filed into Bute Park in the city centre, holding placards to hear from speakers addressing injustices black people face across the world. Crowds generally kept to two-metre social distancing and many wore face coverings and gloves, while only a small police presence watched over the peaceful protest.
Tensions only appeared when a local councillor, Ali Ahmed, was forced off a podium by angry organisers and booed by the crowd after declaring "All lives matter". Mr Ahmed later apologised, saying he was unaware that the slogan had caused offence in the past, and that his intention was to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
He told the PA news agency: "I was going to say about some of the other people who have been brutally killed. I was there to protest against all types of racism, and the killing of innocent human beings, especially those black lives. We want to see an end to this."
Other demonstrations were held in Bangor and Caerphilly, while one in Newport is scheduled for Thursday.
Cardiff protest organiser says George Floyd killing has 'struck a match' in Wales
Andrew Ogun, 22, who took to the podium in Cardiff to speak about racial inequality in south Wales, told the PA news agency: "A lot of people are here today and it's amazing to see.
"This killing struck a match for everybody. Not just black people. People are frustrated, people are tired, people want to get their voices heard. We can't be disingenuous and say police brutality is as bad here as the USA. But regardless, the implicit bias against black people needs to change.
"Because I'm 10 times more likely to be stopped by police. I've been stopped for no valid reason when I'm doing good things, doing artistic things, because of how I looked."
He added: "The main thing that needs to be pushed is a change in curriculum. We need to have a very clear awareness of the role that the UK played in black history, and the role black people played in UK history, which has been completely undermined with it hiding away from its colonial past."
Here are some of the scenes from Leicester and Sheffield, which both appear to have seen a vast turnout.
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