THE Archbishop of York is calling on city residents to show solidarity with protestors in America by lighting a candle rather than organising demonstrations - which he says are unwise in the current coronavirus climate.

Dr John Sentamu said he would like to join protests over the death of George Floyd - who died after suffering a cardiac arrest as a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes on May 25 - but is currently self-shielding, and called on people to observe social distancing right now.

Several protests have been planned for this weekend - including one in York.

A Black Lives Matter protest has been scheduled for 2pm on Saturday in St Helen’s Square, York - however, attendees have been told to bring masks and observe social distancing.

But the Archbishop, speaking on the R4 Today programme, said: “There is a way in which we can be heard, to show solidarity – light a candle if safe to do so. You have to observe social distancing now. Mandela was right in that he said that we must focus acts of rage into acts of reconciliation."

Dr Sentamu added: “I’m at the moment self-shielding. I certainly would want to join but the moment that turns into violence I won’t be there because I don’t believe violence is the same as going out and protesting.”

Asked about US President Donald Trump’s threat to deploy the army across American states, Dr Sentamu said: “I listened to his campaign manager earlier on and it just left me cold. People somehow think that because you’ve got the power and authority, you can abuse that authority.

“Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that. And the problem is America has not been listening to the real problems of African Americans and what they call people of colour.

“All of our cities are potentially powder kegs. Many in moments of anger, many in moments of deep bitterness, engage in riots.

"But violence will only create more social problems than it will solve.”

Meanwhile, several York organisations joined the Black Out Tuesday campaign yesterday, which consisted of posting blank or black images on social media to showcase solidarity.

York College posted on Facebook: “York College supports the Black Lives Matter campaign.

“In light of the ongoing situation, we have blacked out all social media today to show our support not only at this time but to show it is part of who we are as an inclusive college.”

York St John University also posted support and links to various information websites.