UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has suggested he would not ‘take the knee’ a popular gesture carried out by protesters during the national anthem in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement.
The symbolic move was popularised in 2016 when National Football League star Colin Kaepernick got down on one knee while the US national anthem played before games, to protest against racism and police brutality.
It has become more widespread in the wake of global demonstrations sparked by the killing of George Floyd.
Johnson, an ally of US President Donald Trump, said some police officers felt coerced into taking the knee because their colleagues had done so during recent BLM protests and that he believed the police should not take the knee as it is not safe for their colleagues.
According to Johnson, people shouldn’t be ‘bullied’ into doing things ‘they don’t necessarily want to’, adding that he ‘does not believe in such gestures.’
Johnson also added he feels instead of people to focus on taking the knee, people should talk about how more black students are entering top universities and how more black people entered the MET police during his time as Mayor of London.
During a phone-in on Leading Conversations Britain (LCB) on Friday, Johnson said:
“I believe in substance, I believe in doing things’. ‘Not in gestures’
“People shouldn’t be bullied into doing things they don’t necessarily want to’.
“I would rather see a story of championing success and talking about the opportunities we can open,” the PM said.
“There are injustices we need to rectify but i don’t want people to be bullied into doing things they don’t want to do.”
The PM also said he was ‘going to put his hands up’ to the fact there are no black senior ministers and accepted his government ‘needed to make progress on this’.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab came under fire last month for saying he would not take the knee in support of BLM and attributing the origin of the gesture to Game of Thrones.