Priti Patel has attacked “dreadful” Black Lives Matter protests and said she would not take the knee in solidarity.
The Home Secretary said the demonstrations which shook the world last summer put “a great deal of pressure” on police.
Asked on LBC Radio today if she would take the knee, she said: “No, I would not. I would not have at the time either.
“There are other ways in which people can express their opinions. Protesting in the way in which people did last summer was not the right way at all.”
Kneeling in protest for black people was popularised in 2016 by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who took the knee during the national anthem.
Protests erupted last summer after George Floyd died at the hands of US police, sparking a debate about centuries of oppression.
Ms Patel was slammed by Shadow Justice Secretary David Lammy. He said: “Black Lives Matter was one of the only parts of 2020 that gave me hope.
“Young and old, black and white, rich and poor came together across the world to stand up to racism.
“Priti Patel calling it ‘dreadful’ shows the Conservatives learnt nothing.”
Labour MP Zarah Sultana added: “Let’s be clear: Those protests were an inspiring call for justice & equality, from people determined to rid society of racism & challenge the legacies of colonialism.
“Shame on you Priti Patel.”
A No10 spokesman declined to say today if Boris Johnson would take the knee. Instead the spokesman said: “He fully respects the right of people in this country to peacefully protest and make their feelings known about injustices.”
Ms Patel made the comments in an LBC radio phone-in when asked about the Black Lives Matter movement.
She said: “You saw policing as well coming under a great deal of pressure through some of the protests.
“I don’t support protests, and I also did not support the protests that were associated…”
Interrupted, she later clarified she didn’t oppose all protests, but “those protests were dreadful”.