Scots are being warned to avoid mass gathering ahead of a planned Black Lives Matter protest in Glasgow.

More than 8,000 people have registered interest in attending Sunday’s planned rally, forcing organizers to move it from George Square to Glasgow Green.

The protest was organized to end racism and show solidarity over the tragedy of George Floyd, who died after a US police officer knelt on his neck last month.

His gruesome death, caught on camera in Minneapolis, sparked global outrage and violent riots across the United States.

But as thousands of protesters took to the streets in London and Manchester on Saturday, making social distancing impossible, there was concern these events and those planned for tomorrow in Scotland can spread the corona virus.

There are events planned for Edinburgh and Stirling as well as at Glasgow Green.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has urged Scots to consider showing their support in other ways as mass gatherings “pose a real risk to life” during the pandemic.

She said: “I want to urge you to speak up (in support of Black Lives Matter), we all feel very strongly about this, but I would like to ask you to do so safely.
“In normal times, I might have planned to attend a support rally this weekend but it’s simply not safe to gather in large numbers right now.

“It poses a real risk to health and a real risk to life.”
Sturgeon’s comments echo a similar message from Justice Minister Humza Yousaf, who has expressed concern about the spread of Covid-19.

He said: “After the tragic death of George Floyd, it is once again clear that the scourge of racism continues to ravage every nation on earth and we must all play our part in this. solving it.

“I completely understand and feel the anger and sadness that makes people want to gather together and show solidarity and community at this time.

“Unfortunately, the threat of COVID-19 remains with us and I must urge everyone not to attend mass gatherings, which pose a clear risk to public health, even even when practicing social distancing.”

The family of Sheku Bayoh, who died after coming into contact with police in Kirkcaldy, Fife, five years ago was asked to speak at the event.

But they rejected the offer and also urged Scots to consider protesting mostly to avoid the spread of coronavirus.

Mr Bayoh’s sister, Kadi Johnson, released a statement and said: “Although my family is eager to join the protest, I believe the risk of the coronavirus spreading remains great.

“As a nurse practitioner, I know the deadly impact of the virus and I would be concerned about social distancing and the lives of my family and others at risk.

“We can’t attend and we won’t encourage others to go either.”

Police were later cleared of misconduct related to Sheku’s death.