NICOLA Sturgeon has sent her “solidarity” to the Black Lives Matters movement but has warned planned protests in Scotland face being stopped amid social distancing measures currently in place to halt the spread of Covid-19. 

In the United States, there have been six days of unrest ignited by the death of black man George Floyd in Minneapolis – with widespread curfews now imposed in cities across the country due to the outpouring of rage over police killings of black people. 

Donald Trump has threatened to deploy the military if state governors are unable to bring the protests to a halt, while describing himself as the “president of law and order”. 

The First Minister was asked about the protests at her daily media briefing and showed her support for demonstrators amid the situation in the United States, which she is viewing with “concern and horror”. 

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She said: “I absolutely believe people have a right  to make their voices heard and at times like this when we all look on with concern and horror at the scenes in the United States right now, it’s very important that we do have the opportunity speak up and make our  voices heard. 

“Obviously right now it is the case, unfortunately and regrettably, that large gatherings of people could pose a risk to health and indeed to life – unfortunately, that’s the case whether it is a peaceful protest or a football match and any other gathering where large numbers of people are coming together in close proximity.  

“What I would  say to those who want to  protest, and I say this as an ally and supporter, is that we need to find ways of allowing people to make their voices heard and to make the point that many of us want to be made and be heard right now – but do so in a way that is safe and is not putting people protesting or wider communities at risk.” 

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Ms Sturgeon stressed that racism “is an evil that has no place in our society” and hoped that arrangements could be made that “allows us to send a very strong and unequivocal message about racism that we want to see eradicated”. 

She added: “I hope that everybody and I know people the length and breadth of the country, and I include myself in this, feel extremely strongly about these issues.  

“No country is immune from racism and we all have issues to look in the mirror about and to confront.”