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Boris Johnson refuses to condemn boos from England players taking the knee UK News

Boris Johnson has refused to condemn England fans to booing players who choose to kneel as Downing Street urged the public to ‘support’ the team ahead of Euro 2020.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said: “The Prime Minister supports the rights of individuals to demonstrate.

Mr Johnson “fully respects the right of the people of this country to demonstrate peacefully and to voice their feelings in the face of injustice.”

When asked if the Prime Minister refuses to criticize the supporters who booed the gesture, the spokesperson replied: “No… the Prime Minister supports the England football team and wants them to succeed and he wants the whole country to support them in this endeavor in this tournament.

When asked if Boris Johnson thinks kneeling shows support for the political goals of the Black Lives Matter movement, the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said: “The Prime Minister has already spoken officially on this matter.

“By taking the knee, precisely, the Prime Minister is more focused on action than on gestures.

“We took action with things like the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities and that’s what he focused on.

“But … he fully respects the right of those who choose to demonstrate peacefully to make their feelings known.”

He added: “I would like all English fans to be respectful in any football match and, like I said, he respects the rights of those who want to demonstrate peacefully in this way.”

Gareth Southgate expected his England players to be taunted for taking the knee ahead of their win over Romania, but again insisted they would continue to make the gesture in the future.

The Three Lions boss had asked fans not to boo the position on the eve of this final Euro 2020 warm-up game at Riverside Stadium but, as they did here on Wednesday night, a minority ignored the Southgate calls.

Southgate and his players have agreed on the decision to continue kneeling as a gesture against racism and inequality despite the recent incidents, and he explained after the win that the position will not change.

“I think I was sadly expecting what happened,” he said.

“We accepted that, as a group. It’s not going to stop what we do and what we believe. It certainly won’t stop my support for our players and staff.

“That’s it, we’ll have to live with it. We have said what we are going to say now.

“You are right to ask the question today, but in order to move forward I do not need to go into detail on this.”

Rashford, who was England captain for the first time, echoed his manager’s sentiments, telling ITV: “This is something we cannot control.

“For us, this is the right thing to do, so we will continue to do it.”

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This notice was published: 2021-06-07 12:33:48

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