LONDON: Prime Minister Boris Johnson would not agree that Britain is a racist country but acknowledges there is still more to do to combat cases of discrimination and racism, his spokesman said on Monday.
"The PM doesn't doubt that there continues to be discrimination and racism but would not agree that this is a racist country. We have made very significant progress on this issue but there remains more to do," the spokesman told reporters.
"The PM is absolutely committed to continuing efforts to stamp out racism and discrimination."
Johnson said anti-racism demonstrations had been “subverted by thuggery” after protesters tore down a statue of a slave trader in the city of Bristol and scrawled graffiti on a statue of Winston Churchill in London.
London’s Metropolitan police said a dozen people were arrested and eight officers injured after demonstrators clashed Sunday with police in central London.
Johnson said while people have a right to peacefully protest, they have no right to attack the police. He said: “These demonstrations have been subverted by thuggery - and they are a betrayal of the cause they purport to serve.’’
Crime, Policing and Justice Minister Kit Malthouse called Monday for those responsible for toppling the bronze memorial to slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol to be prosecuted.
But Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees told the BBC that while he doesn’t condone criminal damage, he felt no “sense of loss” for the statue.
(With Reuters and AP)