British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he will establish a commission to look at racial equality in the U.K., following a wave of anti-racism protests spurred by the death of George Floyd by police in the United States.
Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in hundreds of demonstrations across the U.K. since Floyd was killed on May 25, demanding that Britain confront its own history of imperialism and racial inequality.
Writing in Monday’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, Johnson said the body would look at “all aspects of inequality – in employment, in health outcomes, in academic and all other walks of life.” He, however, gave no further details.
But critics have accused the government of stalling and opting for talk rather than action.
“It feels like yet again in the U.K. we want figures, data, but we don’t want action,” he said. “The time for review is over and the time for action is now,” justice spokesman for the main opposition Labour party, David Lammy said.
During an anti-racism protest in the city of Bristol, demonstrators pulled down a statue to local slave trader Edward Colston.
A statue of wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill outside Parliament in London was also defaced while local officials boarded it and other monuments up to protect them from vandalism.
Self-styled “patriots” backed by far-right groups took to the streets in London on Saturday, some of them claiming to defend Churchill’s statue.
Violent clashes broke out and 113 people were arrested, while 23 police officers suffered minor injuries at the hands of people Johnson condemned as “thugs”.
A 28-year-old man was jailed for 14 days on Monday after he pleaded guilty to urinating next to a memorial to a police officer killed in a 2017 attack on parliament.
While the government says it sympathizes with the aims of Black Lives Matter protesters, Johnson has criticized calls to remove statues of figures associated with the British Empire and slavery.