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Overwhelming majority of Britons think America is racist, poll reveals

Victoria Bell
·2-min read
 Activists gathered at Trafalgar Square during the George Floyd demonstration. Thousands came together for the protest, despite ongoing concerns over the possible spread of coronavirus and continuing calls by authorities for social distancing guidelines to be adhered to. Floyd, a black man, died as a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck during an arrest in the US city of Minneapolis on May 25. Floyd's death, reminiscent of the chokehold death of Eric Garner at the hands of police officers in New York in 2014, has reignited the 'Black Lives Matter' movement against police brutality in the US, and left Minneapolis and major cities from coast to coast reeling from nights of rioting. (Photo by David Cliff / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Activists gather in Trafalgar Square, London, during the George Floyd demonstration. (PA)

An overwhelming majority of Britons think America is racist, a new poll reveals, following widespread civil unrest after the death of George Floyd.

Of the 3,172 British people surveyed by YouGov, 40% said America is a very racist society, and 40% said it is “fairly racist”.

Just 6% thought it was not very racist, and a mere 2% didn’t think the US is racist at all.

The survey follows anger and shock after George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died on 25 May after being arrested by police outside a shop in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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

Muffled screams can be heard and Floyd shouts “I can’t breathe” as stunned pedestrians look on.

Chauvin, 44, has since been dismissed from the police department and charged with murder.

Emotions have been running high since the incident, with anti-racism protesters taking to the streets in cities across the US.

People take part in a Black Lives Matter protest outside the US Embassy in London. The protest follows the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, US, this week which has seen a police officer charged with third-degree murder.
People take part in a Black Lives Matter protest outside the US Embassy in London. (PA)
 Activists gathered at Trafalgar Square during the George Floyd demonstration. Thousands came together for the protest, despite ongoing concerns over the possible spread of coronavirus and continuing calls by authorities for social distancing guidelines to be adhered to. Floyd, a black man, died as a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck during an arrest in the US city of Minneapolis on May 25. Floyd's death, reminiscent of the chokehold death of Eric Garner at the hands of police officers in New York in 2014, has reignited the 'Black Lives Matter' movement against police brutality in the US, and left Minneapolis and major cities from coast to coast reeling from nights of rioting. (Photo by David Cliff / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Since Floyd's death, emotions have been running high with anti-racism protesters taking to the streets in cities across the US and the UK. (PA)

Largely peaceful protests spread across the US on Friday but violence has erupted in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, LA, Denver and Atlanta, with police vehicles being set on fire and looting, according to reports.

Protesters in London and Berlin have also showed overseas support for the US marches.

On Sunday, thousands gathered across central London to protest, many holding signs saying "Justice for George Floyd" and “I can’t breathe”.

Police arrested five people aged between 17 and 25 outside the US embassy in Battersea.

Elsewhere in the UK, hundreds marched through Manchester and Cardiff.

A US poll found that 61% of US adults believe race was a “major factor” in Floyd’s death.

72% of Americans said they “strongly approve” of the firing of Chauvin and the three other Minneapolis police officers involved in Floyd’s death.

On Monday, a Conservative MP was criticised after he tweeted a picture of the George Floyd demonstration in London saying he hoped they “don’t blame the government if there’s a second spike” of the coronavirus.

Kevin Hollinrake told Yahoo News UK that while he was not criticising demonstrators’ reason for taking to the streets, there was “absolutely no justification” for anyone failing to observe social distancing rules.