Anthony Joshua speaks at Black Lives Matter protest in Watford, calling racism a 'pandemic'
"We can no longer sit back and remain silent on these senseless, unlawful killings," world heavyweight champion tells gathering
Last Updated: 11/06/20 2:57pm
Anthony Joshua rallied with his Watford community at a Black Lives Matter protest on Saturday despite needing crutches to support an ongoing injury.
The world heavyweight champion marched through the streets of his hometown before speaking to the gathering at a park, where he read a poem from another Watford local and friend.
It was one of many BLM protests across the UK on Saturday, despite the government health secretary Matt Hancock warning against the demonstrations because of the risks to coronavirus social distancing measures.
In a speech shared via his official Instagram account, 30-year-old Joshua said: "We can no longer sit back and remain silent on these senseless, unlawful killings and sly racism on another human being - based on what? Only their skin colour.
"We need to speak out in peaceful demonstrations - just like today, so well done Watford.
"We must not use a demonstration for selfish motives and turn it into rioting and looting."
Joshua went on to say: "The virus has been declared a pandemic. This is out of control. And I'm not talking about COVID-19. The virus I'm talking about is called racism.
"We stand united against a virus which has been instrumental in taking lives of the young, old, rich, poor; a virus which is unapologetic and spreads across all sectors."
Joshua wore all black, including one black leather glove and a Black Lives Matter T-shirt, and was one of many people who spoke at the gathering.
Of the apparent injury, which saw Joshua sporting a knee brace as well as crutches, his spokeperson told the Daily Mail: "Anthony felt a slight twinge in his knee whilst training.
"The brace is a precautionary measure on the advice of physios. It will be further checked by his doctors but there is no immediate concern."