-Protests, lockdown and future of UK economy
Tens of thousands of people took part in Black Lives Matter protests across the UK on Sunday -- the third protest in the capital this week. In London, protesters gathered outside the US embassy in Battersea, some taking to one knee. The demonstrators then made their way across the British capital to the prime minister’s residence at 10 Downing Street where violence erupted.
In Bristol, protesters tore down the statue of 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston and dumped it into the River Avon. The bronze memorial statue has been in Bristol’s city center since 1895 and was previously subject to a petition for its removal signed by 11,000 people. The clear message to lawmakers in the UK from the protesters is that they want their rights to be recognized and their voices heard so “the new normal” will include those of Black people.
Nevertheless, the escalation of violence could add to risks to the faltering economy, which is under pressure due to lockdown measures.
On the coronavirus front, the UK still ranks first in Europe and the world with the highest number of deaths. British health authorities announced Saturday that a further 204 people died from COVID-19 across the UK while local media reported the government is considering relaxing Sunday trading rules to help the economy through the crisis. The Department of Health tweeted that a total of 284,868 people have tested positive for the virus so far and that the nationwide death toll has climbed to 40,465.
The government is working on refueling the faltering economy. The Times reported on Saturday that the government was considering suspending Sunday trading laws for a year to boost the economy. The proposed move was supported by business leaders but opposed by trade unions. The 1994 Sunday Trading Act prohibits large shops to open for more than six hours in a row between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. local time (0900-1700GMT).
Adam Marshall, the director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “If there are rules that can be relaxed to give more companies a fighting chance to trade their way through this crisis without compromising safety, ministers should do everything in their power to make it happen.”
From June 8, the U.K. is enforcing a 14-day quarantine period for incoming travelers despite strong opposition from several industry sectors.
British Airways, Ryanair and EasyJet all complained to the British government in protest at the measures they say are "disproportionate and unfair on British citizens as well as international visitors arriving in the UK".
Last Friday Willie Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines Group (IAG) and owner of British Airlines said: “We are giving consideration to a legal challenge to this legislation.”
So, in the upcoming days, a legal battle might ensue with this decision overturned.