Environment Secretary George Eustice has sparked a new debate on Black Lives Matters after refusing to condemn football fans who booed Millwall players for “taking the knee.”
Responding to questions about the incident at Saturday’s game between Millwall and County Derby, Eustice told Sky News that “the issue of race and racial discrimination is something we all take very, very seriously. “.
But he added, “Black Lives Matter, capital letter B, L and M, is actually a different political movement than what most of us believe in, which stands for racial equality.
“Each individual can make their own choices about how they reflect this. I know a number of people feel pretty strong and have taken this approach. “
The Football Association condemned Millwall fans for booing their own players for kneeling, which “every elite team has done since George Floyd was murdered by police in the United States in May” , according to the Times. And a man was later arrested for a series of “abusive” Facebook messages posted during the match, the BBC reports.
Meanwhile, a statement issued by Millwall FC – a team which has “historically been synonymous with racism”, according to Vice – said the club were “dismayed and saddened” by the events on Saturday.
Eustane is not the first to criticize the BLM movement, however.
In a Telegraph article in June, ex-Brexit MEP Alexandra Phillips described the group as a “neo-Marxist movement with various far-left goals”.
These objections include “the funding of the police … the dismantling of capitalism and the patriarchal system. [and] disrupting the nuclear family structure prescribed by the West, ”Phillips wrote.
The official BLM website describes the movement as a “project of building political will and movement centered on black people” with more than 40 chapters of which “members organize and strengthen local power to intervene in the violence inflicted on black communities by the State and the vigilantes ”.
BLM UK, formed in 2016, listed “the dismantling of capitalism as a goal in a recent fundraiser on the Go Fund Me website,” the Times reports.
However, the US Office of Special Counsel said the movement is not “partisan or political,” a move that “paved the way” for US federal employees to support the movement while on duty by wearing the BLM badge, according to USA Today.