HUNDREDS of anti-racist demonstrators gathered in Bournemouth to protest against the American police killing of unarmed George Floyd.

They held up signs saying 'Black Lives Matter' and 'Justice for George' during a peaceful gathering at the town's square, gardens and outside the town hall.

The protest on Tuesday afternoon was organised so Dorset residents could show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and pay their respects to Mr Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis while a white police officer knelt on his neck to pin him down.

Bournemouth Echo:

With violent civil unrest continuing across the USA following the police killing of Mr Floyd, protestors in Bournemouth were quick to allay any fears of violent disturbances here.

One of the spokesman for the Dorset anti-racist rally, William Wren, told the Daily Echo: "This is not going to be like the USA protests, we do not condone violence.

"First and foremost, people in this country have a responsibility to show solidarity to the protestors in the US."

Dorset Police, who attended the event to ensure it pass off peacefully, confirmed no arrests were made.

Mr Wren said: "The issues in Britain are different but our society has a structure very similar to the US – we have police brutality against black people here, particularly towards people who have grown up in wealth deficient areas.

"Black people in the UK are more prone to violence from the police.

"In terms of a local Bournemouth demonstration, it is important for local people who absolutely support the Black Lives Matter movement, to be able to come out and show their support."

Bournemouth Echo:

The demonstrators, who gathered in Bournemouth around midday included people of many different races, political views and backgrounds.

Meanwhile, in the USA the death of George Floyd has been declared a homicide in an official post-mortem examination.

It listed Mr Floyd's cause of death as "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression."

Violent protest broke out in many American cities after a video was shown of a white officer continuing to kneel on Mr Floyd's neck, despite him pleading he could not breath.

Mr Wren said: "My personal issue, as a British citizen, which I find hard to come to terms with, is that I have not heard anything from Boris Johnson. I've only heard from Dominic Raab who spoke on Sunday morning with Andrew Marr and said it wasn't his job to comment on any issues in America. He said he'd seen the video, and that it was disturbing, but it wasn't his job to comment on what Trump was doing.

"What I would really like, and what would really drive protests in areas like ours is if our senior politicians would make some kind of denouncement of how it has been handled in the US.

Bournemouth Echo:

"If you watch the news, you would almost think that the USA was a country on the brink of civil war."

On the way President Trump has handled developments so far, Mr Wren said: "It has been terrible, an absolute disaster."

Respects were also paid to Ahmaud Arbery, a black American man who was shot and killed by a former police officer and his son, who are both white, while simply out jogging in Brunswick, Georgia, USA.

A Dorset Police spokesman said: "Dorset Police wholly appreciates current feelings and anger from many areas of our communities following recent events in the United States.

“Where there are plans for mass gatherings across Dorset, Dorset Police will ensure proportionate and consistent policing plans are put in place to allow safe and peaceful protest.

"The rights to protest are well established in this country, however personal responsibility is now key to maintain safety for those involved and our wider communities.

“Social distancing remains critical and we would ask anyone taking part in such gatherings or any protest to observe these measures to protect themselves and others.”