Home secretary, Priti Patel, has come under pressure for attacking the gesture of taking a knee, and branding the anti-racism protest movement Black Lives Matter, which swept the UK last year, as “dreadful”.
Talking to LBC radio on Friday (February 12), Patel dismissed the BLM’s style of protesting as “not the right way at all”.
More strikingly, the Home Secretary said she opposes the peaceful symbolic practice of “taking the knee” before adding there are “other ways in which people can express their opinions”.
The “taking the knee” pose is based on one struck by the legendary US civil rights campaigner Martin Luther King.
In recent years the pose has been adopted as a general symbolic protest against racism, particularly its institutional forms.
The shadow Home Secretary, Nick Thomas-Symonds, was quick to criticize the Home Secretary by labeling her comments as “unacceptable”.
Thomas-Symonds asserted that the Black Lives Matter movement in the UK was “a powerful call for change from across society”.
“To be dismissed like this by the Home Secretary is unacceptable”, he added.
Patel’s interview to LBC radio followed on the heels of Commons leader, and hawkish Tory, Jacob Rees-Mogg’s mischaracterization of a landmark commission on diversity as “loony leftwing wheezes”.
Rees-Mogg was attacking the London Mayor, Sadiq Khan’s Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm, which was set up at the height of the BLM protest movement last summer.