Global Black Lives Matter Protests


Source: Insider

George Floyd spent the last few moments of his life on Monday lying on the ground, handcuffed, with his neck pinned under the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer who ordered him to “relax” as the 46-year-old black man gasped, “Please, I can’t breathe.”

Anger over Floyd’s death has bubbled over into protests across the United States calling for an end to police brutality and injustice — and now those demonstrations have gone global.

The UK

In the United Kingdom, hundreds of demonstrators reported at Trafalgar Square in London, with people kneeling in solidarity at 1 p.m. Sunday local time. This despite mass gatherings being prohibited in the country as part of its coronavirus response.

People were seen carrying signs that read, “Justice for George Floyd,” “Racism has no place,” “Enough is enough,” and “Black lives matter.” They chanted, “I can’t breathe” and “No justice, no peace,” and marched to Grenfell Tower, which was felled by a fire in 2017, causing 72 deaths.

Protesters also walked to the US Embassy in Battersea, BBC reported, and were seen in Manchester and Cardiff.

Black Lives Matter demonstrators gathered at Hyde Park on Wednesday before marching through London to Victoria Station, where they held up signs seeking justice for Belly Mujinga, a railway worker who died after being spat on by a man who claimed to have coronavirus. The Crown Prosecution Service has made it a criminal offense to weaponize COVID-19, but the case was closed last moth, Politico said.

An emotional John Boyega, of Star Wars fame, led a chant of “No justice, no peace” and assured other black people, “We have always meant something.”

Labor Party politician Barry Gardiner, who had been social distancing since March, said he “broke it” on Wednesday for the sake of joining thousands of protesters in taking a knee outside parliament.

According to Sky News, the protest began peacefully, but, at one point, emotions ran high and objects and punches were thrown at police. People then calmed down again.

 

Germany

In Germany, the scene was a familiar one.

A crowd gathered at the US Embassy in Berlin on Saturday. Graffiti artists also sprayed Floyd’s image on a stretch of the wall that divided the German capital city for decades during the Cold War.

The next day, crowds demanded justice in front of the Brandenburg Gate. “Justice can’t wait,” “Black futures matter,” “Suffocate the racists,” and “We are all the same and equal,” their signs read.

France

Meanwhile, in France, Floyd’s death prompted the family of Adama Traoré to call for protests. The 24-year-old black man was tackled and subdued by police officers and gasped “I can’t breathe” before he died, according to The New York Times.

The advocacy group La Vérité Pour Adama — which in English means “The truth for Adama” — wrote on Facebook: “How can you not think of Adama’s terrible suffering, who had 3 police on him and told them ‘I can’t breathe.’ … His name was George Floyd, just like Adama, dead because they were BLACK!”

Thousands of people marched in Marseille in Tuesday, with signs saying, “Justice for all” and “No more murders.”

In Paris, however, the scene wasn’t quite as calm.

Tuesday was the first day that French cafes were allowed to resume business after three months of lockdown due to the pandemic. But it was also a day that was marked by arson, violence, and destruction as tension bubbled over in the French capital city.

Campaigners requested permission from authorities to hold this protest, but were denied, because no more than 10 people are allowed to gather at a time amid coronavirus restrictions in France. They decided to defy authorities and protest racial injustice and police violence.

Demonstrators took a knee and raised their fists to pay homage to Floyd and Traore, but also lit multiple blazes and torched bicycles and electric scooters, an action that pitted them against riot police, who used tear gas to disperse the crowds, according to TIME.

“Today we are not just talking about the fight of the Traore family. It is the fight for everyone. When we fight for George Floyd, we fight for Adam Traoré. What is happening in the United States is an echo of what is happening in France,” Adama Traoré’s older sister Assa Traoré told the crowd, the Independent reported.

 

Italy

In Italy, protesters made their way over to the US Embassy in Milan, with signs that declared, “Stop killing black people,” “Say his name,” and “We will not be silent.”

Photos from the scene show people kneeling and standing with their hands squeezing their necks and “I can’t breathe” written on their face masks.

 

Ireland

In Dublin, thousands demonstrated outside the US Embassy, while a peaceful protest was also organized at the residence of the US ambassador in Phoenix Park, according to RTÉ News.

 

Denmark

Thousands in Copenhagen also flooded the streets on Sunday to march peacefully and raise awareness ab0ut police brutality. They walked from the US Embassy to the Danish Parliament building, where they took a knee in solidarity with other Black Lives Matter and Floyd protesters.

The goal, some wrote on Twitter, was to apply international pressure on governments to treat citizens equally and better.

 

The Netherlands

A massive crowd, with some estimates saying there were 10,000 people, filled Dam Square in Amsterdam on Monday, with demonstrators showing their support for their American counterparts. Their signs read, “Love black lives the way you love black culture,” “Racism is a pandemic,” “My skin ain’t a crime,” “Police violence is not an accident,” and “Who do we call when cops kill?”

Activist Naomie Pieter called out to the crowd from a stage, “Black women’s lives, black trans lives, black disabled lives,” and demonstrators replied, “Matter!”, NPR reported.

 

Israel

Hundreds in Tel Aviv rallied alongside American protesters, communicating their displeasure at the heavy-handedness of police around the world and the unequal treatment of people of color with signs that read, “F— Trump,” “Please, I can’t breathe,” “Down with racism,” “Black lives matter here, there and everywhere,” and “AmeriKKKa you did this!”

They also demanded justice for two other black people who have been killed in the US in recent months, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.

 

Sudan

On June 3, 2019, Sudanese security forces cracked down on pro-democracy protesters in the capital city of Khartoum, killing as many as 241 people, Al Jazeera reported.

This year, on the first anniversary of the massacre, protesters held up signs in Arabic that said, “Our martyrs are not dead, they are alive with the revolutionaries” along with the English slogans “#BLUEforSUDAN” and “#BLACKLIVESMATTER.”

Canada

Closer to home, in Canada, protests were also sparked by the death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a 29-year-old black woman, who fell from her balcony and died on Wednesday as police were investigating a domestic incident at her building, CBC News reported.

Demonstrations in Toronto on Saturday in honor of Korchinski-Paquet dovetailed with calls to end racism around the world, according to Vox.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters on Friday that Canadians ar watching the events that are unfolding in the US “with shock and with horror,” the Guardian reported.

“Anti-black racism — racism — is real,” he added. “It’s in the United States but it’s also in Canada and we know people are facing systemic discrimination, unconscious bias, and anti-black racism every single day.”

 

South Africa

The Black Lives Matter movement is also making its presence known in the Southern Hemisphere.

A group of protesters gathered outside South Africa’s parliament in Cape Town to demand justice for Floyd on the same day that Minneapolis Attorney General Keith Ellison added a second-degree murder charge against arresting officer Derek Chauvin, who also faces third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges. The three other officers have also been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

The demonstrators carried flowers and signs that said, “The system was never broken, it was built this way,” “White silence = violence,” “Say their names,” and “It’s a white men’s world.”

Brazil

In Rio de Janeiro, hundreds of masked demonstrators descended on the square in front of the state government building and protested the government of President Jair Bolsonaro and crimes committed against people of color in the city’s slums, also called favelas.

Their rallying cry was “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” — a chant that echoed multiple cities in the US. Their signs, written in Portuguese, read, “Stop killing us” and “Favela asks for peace.”

“We are here today because we want to live. We are here today because we are tired of this genocidal state. We are here to say no more, no more!” an activist Santiago told Voice of America.

Police threw tear gas at the crowd to end the protest.

 

New Zealand

People in New Zealand on Monday joined the chorus of criticism reverberating around the US.

Around 2,000 people marched to the US Embassy in Auckland, carrying signs that said, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired,” “You can kill the revolutionary, not the revolution,” “Not today Karen,” and, “What’s wrong with your skin color?”

Images show people kneeling in solidarity with their fists raised in the air, while a haka — a ceremonial Maori dance — was also performed.

RTE News reported that another 500 gathered in Christchurch and around the same number of people held a vigil at the Parliament building in Wellington.

A self-proclaimed white supremacist gunned down 51 peope at mosques in Christchurch in March 2019, prompting Josephine Varghese to tell the crowd on Monday, “We demand racial and economic justice. Black lives matter, indigenous lives matter, Muslim lives matter,” according RTE News.

 

Australia

Protests are expected later this week in Australia.

An Aboriginal man, David Dungay, said “I can’t breathe” 12 times while being restrained by prison guards in 2015. He died, and the video of Floyd’s killing has been traumatic for his family, The Times reported.

Social unrest in the US has prompted Australians to highlight the fact that 400-plus Indigenous Australians have died in police custody since 1991. None of the police officers have faced consequences for their conduct, per The Times.

However, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said during a radio interview on Monday that “there’s no need to import things happening in other countries here to Australia.”

People shut down his comments immediately.

 

China and Iran pointed out the irony in the US’s criticism of their treatment of protesters

China had a slightly different reaction to the protests in the US. The Times reported that Floyd’s death and the resulting riots were featured prominently on state-run news outlets and the social media platform Weibo. After President Donald Trump was rushed to a bunker in the White House as protests in Washington, DC, intensified, “BunkerBoy” was trending on Chinese social media platforms.

Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of nationalist publication Global Times, wrote on Saturday: “Mr. President, don’t go hide behind the Secret Service. Go to talk to the demonstrators seriously. Negotiate with them, just like you urged Beijing to talk to Hong Kong rioters.”

And, on Sunday, China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying shared “I can’t breathe” on Twitter. Attached was a screenshot of Morgan Ortagus, a spokesperson for the US Department of State, condemning the Chinese Communist Party for cracking down on Hong Kong.

Similarly, Iran responded by highlighting the US’s hypocrisy.

Javad Zarif, the foreign minister, posted to Twitter an edited screenshot of a 2018 statement by American officials criticizing the country’s “tactics of suppression, imprisonment of protesters, and the denial of Iranians’ frustrations.” The references to Iran were crossed out in red and replaced with America.

 

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