PROTESTERS are expected to gather in Southampton today to protest against racism and police brutality in America following the death of George Floyd.

Crowds of people have organised to meet outside Southampton Guildhall at 5pm this evening for a "socially distanced vigil and protest" for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement after the death of George Floyd in America.

Organised by BML Southampton, the event is described as a "strictly peaceful protest".

A spokesperson said: "We believe by protesting peacefully during a pandemic, we will be able to display how important and prevalent racism still is in this country.

"We will be showcasing black poetry, educating and sharing how to be actively anti-racist."

Organisers are asking protesters to ensure that they remain at a social distance and to behave inline with Government guidelines.

Mr Floyd was an unarmed black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes on May 25.

A video of Mr Floyd's death was posted on social media which showed the officer kneeling on his neck while he was hand cuffed and laying belly-down on the ground.

Mr Floyd was heard repeatedly calling out "I can't breathe" but the officer did not release his position.

The officer, Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Mr Floyd's neck was charged with murder on Friday.

The incident has sparked protests and riots across America demanding change and an end to racism and police brutality in the country.

UK police leaders have also come together and published a statement about George Floyd’s death.

They are also portesting for the justice of Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery and other black American men who have lost their lives as a result of racisim and police brutality. 

The group also made mention of Belly Mujinga, a British woman working at the London Victoria Railway Station, who died of coronavirus after she was coughed and spat on. 

Chief constables from forces across the country, the chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, the chief executive of the College of Policing and the President of the Police Superintendents' Association have spoken following the death of George Floyd and the events that have followed in the United States.

They said: “We stand alongside all those across the globe who are appalled and horrified by the way George Floyd lost his life. Justice and accountability should follow.

“We are also appalled to see the violence and damage that has happened in so many US cities since then. Our hearts go out to all those affected by these terrible events and hope that peace and order will soon be restored.

“In the UK we have a long established tradition of policing by consent, working in communities to prevent crime and solve problems. Officers are trained to use force proportionately, lawfully and only when absolutely necessary. We strive to continuously learn and improve. We will tackle bias, racism or discrimination wherever we find it. 

“Policing is complex and challenging and sometimes we fall short. When we do, we are not afraid to shine a light on injustices or to be held to account. 

“The relationship between the police and the public in the UK is strong but there is always more to do. Every day, up and down the country, officers and staff are working to strengthen those relationships and address concerns. Only by working closely with our communities do we build trust and help keep people safe.

“We know people want to make their voices heard. The right to lawful protest is key part of any democracy, which UK police uphold and facilitate.

"But coronavirus remains a deadly disease and there are still restrictions in place to prevent its spread, which include not gathering outside in groups of more than six people. So for whatever reason people want to come together, we ask that people continue to work with officers at this challenging time.”