British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Wednesday, during questioning from members of parliament regarding U.S. protests, said "of course black lives matter," and defended the right to peacefully protest.
Johnson made the remarks during questioning from Scottish National Party Leader Ian Blackford, who pressed him to comment on the U.S. protests sparked by last week's death of George Floyd, the African American man who died while in police custody in Minneapolis.
Johnson said he totally understands "the anger, the grief that is felt not just in America, but around the world and in our country as well.," and said he supports the right to protest. His only point, he said, was "that protests should be carried out lawfully. And in this country protests should be carried out in accordance with our rules on social distancing."
Opposition members also questioned Johnson on reports he was taking direct control of the COVID-19 response in the country. Opposition Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer said the prime minister had promised to have a "test, track and trace" operation in place by the first of June. He said the man Johnson put in charge of that operation said himself it would not be ready until the end of the month.
Johnson insisted the operation had been up and running June 1 as he promised it would be. He added, as a result, thousands of people are "now following our guidance, following the law and self-isolating to stop the spread of the disease."
The prime minister also said COVID-19 testing in Britain was going very well, and expects tests to be conducted much faster by the end of the month. He said 90 percent of tests are turned around within 48 hours and expects that to improve to within 24 hours by the end of June.