Thousands of activists across the world have defied social-distancing rules due to the coronavirus pandemic to gather in protest at the death of a black man, George Floyd, who was murdered by a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, in Minneapolis, United States.
KanyiDaily had published a video that shows how George Floyd died during arrest, after Derek Chauvin pinned him to the ground by pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck as the black man repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe.”
Thousands rallied outside the US embassies in London, Copenhagen and Berlin, chanting ‘I can’t breathe,’ the words Floyd gasped as Chauvin knelt on his neck last week Monday.
They defied coronavirus lockdown and social distancing rules in Dublin, Ireland; Toronto, Canada; Cardiff, Wales; and in Milan, Italy; to protest the latest African-American death in police custody in the States.
Candles were lit in Krakow, Poland, and also in Mashhad, Iran, where leaders have cynically criticised Donald Trump’s ‘racism’ and tweeted their support for #BlackLivesMatter.
In Germany’s Bundesliga – Europe’s first top flight soccer league to get back into action amid the pandemic – players wrote messages under their shirts and, inspired by the NFL, ‘took a knee.’
Dozens of American cities have been set ablaze over the last seven days in deadly clashes with police officers over the killing of Floyd, whose death is seen as a symbol of systemic police brutality against African-Americans.
In Berlin, Germany, protesters gathered on Sunday at the U.S. Embassy, demonstrating for a second day.
Hundreds of German demonstrators marched in solidarity with American protesters Saturday and Sunday, and chanted “Stop Killing Us,” “Black Lives Matter” and “No Justice, No Peace.”
— Carl Nasman (@CarlNasman) May 30, 2020
Beyond protests that gathered thousands at the capital over the weekend, four soccer players in Germany’s Bundesliga league addressed Floyd’s killing during games. One player took a knee on the field. Another exposed a shirt underneath a jersey that read “Justice for George Floyd.”
— Wo sind sie jetzt? (@exprofis) May 31, 2020
In United Kingdom, thousands demonstrated on Sunday in London, according to the BBC, to protest Floyd’s death and police brutality.
The protesters marched along the Thames and to the U.S. Embassy, chanting “Black Lives Matter” and carrying signs with slogans such as, “How Many More?” “Racism is a Global Issue” and “Your Silence Is Deafening.”
WATCH: Some pretty big crowds in London marching down Whitehall for #BlackLivesMatterUK protests.
— Paul Brand (@PaulBrandITV) May 31, 2020
In Canada, Toronto citizens gathered in protest against injustice towards black people globally and against the death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a 29-year-old black woman who lived in Toronto, and the circumstances surrounding her death.
Korchinski-Paquet fell from her balcony while police officers were responding to a “domestic incident” in her home.
— Tina Yazdani (@TinaYazdani) May 30, 2020
In the Iranian city of Mashhad, a candlelight vigil was held in Floyd’s honor, with Black Lives Matter posters and illustrations of Floyd posted.
— Shirin Jaafari (@Shirinj) May 30, 2020
In New Zealand, protesters gathered across the North and South Islands in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
Nigerian-New Zealand musician, Mazbou Q, who organised the protest, said the gatherings were not just about the death of Floyd.
“The ongoing persecution of the black community is an ongoing phenomenon. The same white supremacy which has led to disproportionate killings of black people in the US exists here in New Zealand,’ he told the crowd.
“We pride ourselves on being a nation of empathy, kindness and love. But the silence from the government and the media does not reflect that at all. In fact, it makes us complicit.”
Nigerian-born mixed martial artist and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya was one of about 4,000 demonstrators who gathered in Auckland
In Brazil, hundreds of people gathered in front of the Rio de Janeiro state government palace to protest crimes committed by the police against black people in Rio’s working-class neighborhoods, known as favelas.
Meanwhile, officer Derek Chauvin, who was shown on video putting his knee on the neck of George Floyd as he pleaded for air, has since been fired from his department, and charged with third degree murder and second degree manslaughter.