The man who was pictured carrying a counter-protester to safety during a violent demonstration involving far-right protesters in London yesterday has spoken out, saying ‘it’s everyone against racists’.
The powerful photo showed a Black Lives Matter supporter, now known to be personal trainer and grandfather Patrick Hutchinson, carrying a suspected far-right counter-protester to safety over his shoulder.
Immediately shared far and wide, the photo quickly became known as ‘the photo’, showing that even in the most divisive of circumstances, people can come together against violence.
Now, Patrick has spoken out about why he carried the man to safety:
Violent clashes broke out in central London on Saturday as far-right protesters gathered in Parliament Square, supposedly to ‘protect statues’ but with the main aim of clashing with Black Lives Matter protesters, who had planned to gather yesterday to address racial inequality.
After attacking police, the counter-protesters later clashed with BLM supporters in Trafalgar Square and near Waterloo Station, where Patrick rescued the man. In an interview with Channel 4 News, the grandfather said it was a ‘scary’ scene filled with lots of people.
When he first arrived at the ‘hectic’ scene, Patrick said it was like a ‘stampede’, adding: ‘There were people trying to protect him, but unsuccessfully,’ he explained. ‘He was under physical harm. His life was under threat.’
Patrick explained that just before he picked the man up and put him over his shoulder, a group of protesters had put a ‘little cordon’ around him to stop him receiving any more physical harm. As they did that, he thought: ‘Well if he stays here he’s not going to make it.’
So I just went under, scooped him up and put him on my shoulders and sort of started marching towards the police with him whilst all the guys were sort of surrounding me and protecting me and the guy I had on my shoulder.
I could actually feel strikes and hits as I was carrying him, so these guys were probably taking some of that themselves on their person.
In a social media post yesterday, Patrick shared a number of photos of the incident alongside the caption: ‘We saved a life today… It’s not black v white it’s everyone v the racists! We had each other’s back and protected those who needed us.’
Downplaying the notion that he is a hero, Patrick said he isn’t the only one who deserves credit; without the men who surrounded him as he carried the man, he said he likely would have been trampled by the crowd.
Later reflecting on the moment he intervened, Patrick thought of George Floyd, who died at the hands of Minneapolis police officers last month when Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.
He told Channel 4 News:
If the other three police officers that were standing around when George Floyd was murdered, had thought about intervening and stopping their colleague from doing what he was doing like what we did, George Floyd would still be alive today.
Protests continue across America and worldwide in the wake of Floyd’s death, with hundreds of thousands demanding justice while also fighting for a better existence for themselves in the wake of yet another killing of an unarmed, defenceless black man.
Rest in peace, George.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org/talk
Channel 4 News/YouTube
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