Activists braved bad weather to fill Parliament Square in the British capital during the day, but more heated scenes unfolded in the evening when a small number of protesters clashed with police outside Downing Street, the official residence of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
In one incident, video posted online showed a police horse suddenly bolting, causing its officer to crash into a street light and fall to the ground. The loose horse then caused panic as it ran through groups of protesters, before making its way back to police stables. It is not clear what caused the horse to flee.
The officer is receiving hospital treatment but her injuries are not life-threatening, London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement.
Earlier in the day, sizable crowds defied calls from the government and police that people should stay home to limit the spread of Covid-19.
They joined together to chant Floyd’s name and “Black Lives Matter,” at one point all taking a knee in unison outside Parliament.
Officers were not wearing riot gear during the daytime rally, but as the protests wound down in the evening scenes turned more tense and officers with protective equipment were deployed.
Police said a total of 14 arrests were made and 10 officers received injuries, but noted that the majority of protesters had acted peacefully.
“We understand peoples’ passion to come and let their voice be heard, they protested largely without incident,” Superintendent Jo Edwards, the spokesperson for policing the demonstration, said in a statement.
“Our officers have been professional and very restrained but there was a smaller group intent on violence towards police officers.” An investigation is being carried out regarding the horse incident, the statement added.