Everything you need to know about the Black Lives Matter protest in Leeds today

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A peaceful Black Lives Matter protest is expected to take place in Leeds today.

Protests have been going on in major cities across the UK this month despite the authorities asking people to stay at home.

It follows the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, USA, who died after a police officer restrained him by kneeling on his neck.

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A protest, organised by Black Voices Matter and supported by the Black Lives Matter Leeds organisation, will take place at 2.30pm.

The Black Lives Matter protest will take place on Millennium Square at 2.30pmThe Black Lives Matter protest will take place on Millennium Square at 2.30pm
The Black Lives Matter protest will take place on Millennium Square at 2.30pm

Here is everything you need to know:

Why are people protesting?

Thousands of people across the UK have turned out for anti-racism protests in major cities.

Protests began in the US after a video emerged of Mr Floyd, 46, being arrested on May 25 in Minneapolis, USA.

Phone footage showed him gasping that he could not breathe during the arrest by four officers.

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They have since been charged over the death, which sparked days of protest in the US and Black Lives Matter (BLM).

Black Voices Matter, the organisation leading today's protest in Leeds, invites people to "come and join us and stand in solidarity against systemic and institutional racism embedded in our society and police brutality and injustice inflicted against black people".

They will also commemorate the loss of George Floyd and others.

Where is the protest?

The Black Voices Matter peaceful protest will begin at 2.30pm today (Sunday, June 14) at Millennium Square, Leeds city centre.

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A second Black Lives Matter demonstration had been organised at the same time in Woodhouse Moor, Hyde Park - but organisers decided to cancel the Hyde Park protest and participate in the Black Voices Matter one instead.

The Hyde Park protest has been postponed until Sunday, June 21.

What safety measures are in place?

People have been reminded to bring gloves, a face mask and sanitiser to the protest.

Protesters have been asked to stand two metres apart from people not in their household or social bubble, with no more than six people in a group.

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Organisers have urged protesters to disperse 'safely and quickly' from Millennium Square following the demonstration.

How have police responded?

Public gatherings of more than six are still banned, police have said, ahead of the protests in Leeds.

In a statement, West Yorkshire Police said the right to "lawful protest is a key part of democracy".

A spokesman added: "However coronavirus is a deadly disease and the risk is not over.

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"Current restrictions prohibit outdoor gatherings of more than six people and we ask the public to be mindful of their own health and safety and that of the wider public, by following current guidelines.

"We police by consent and enjoy strong engagement with our communities.

"We ask them to work with us at this difficult time."

What has Leeds Council said about the protests?

Leeds City Council said they were "working closely" with police ahead of the protest.

The authority is considering how to ensure the statues of Queen Victoria and Robert Peel are not vandalised.

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The Queen Victoria memorial was damaged earlier this week with graffiti, and the Robert Peel statue has been the subject of a petition calling on the council to remove it.

A Leeds City Council spokesperson said: “We are working closely with West Yorkshire Police and protest organisers to seek to ensure that Sunday's Black Lives Matter protest is progressed in a dignified, peaceful and respectful way.

"We are also considering what measures need to be put into place to seek to ensure that the statues of Queen Victoria and Robert Peel are not vandalised".

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