At least tens of thousands of people joined this Saturday in massive solidarity marches called around the world to denounce racism and police violence after the death of African-American George Floyd in the United States.
Anti-racist protests over the death of Floyd, who died on May 25 after police in Minneapolis pinned him down for nearly 9 minutes, preventing him from breathing, have caught fire in various parts of the globe, and similar local cases have been reported in every country.
In Australia, tens of thousands of people marched through various cities in support of the protests following Floyd’s death, and to protest racism, including the deaths of Australian Aborigines while in the custody of the authorities.
“Racism is a pandemic”, “White silence is violence” and “Stop deaths in police custody” are some of the posters that accompanied Aboriginal flags during the march in Sydney, where some 10,000 people gathered.
“We are the traditional owners of this land and we are united not only by colour with our black brothers in the United States but with native Indians. We have something in common with all black nations around the world because we have been colonized with violence and genocide”, said one of the aboriginal elders during the march.
Hundreds of people peacefully demonstrated on the streets of Tokyo and Seoul to denounce racism on the occasion of Floyd’s death at the hands of the police.
In the Japanese capital, about 500 people of various nationalities marched and demonstrated in front of the central and popular Shibuya station.
In Seoul, a hundred people, several of them Americans, marched through the central Myeongdong neighbourhood carrying messages with the slogan “Black lives matter“, which has led the protests in many parts of the United States.
In the UK, crowds of citizens, many wearing face masks and coronavirus gloves, have gathered in Parliament Square in central London, and demonstrations have also been called in other parts of the country.
The British Torture Free Organizations and Immigrant Welfare Council called on the London Government to “act” against “systemic” racism that also exists in the UK.
They noted that this entrenched discriminatory treatment, which affects aspects such as education, housing, employment, and health, is currently evident in the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused proportionally more deaths among ethnic minorities than in the rest of the country’s population.
In Paris, between 1,000 and 2,000 people gathered next to the Place de la Concorde a few hundred meters from the US embassy, where they intended to celebrate their convocation.
It was prevented by a strong police cordon that had blocked access to a wide perimeter of several kilometres with fences and vehicles that included much of the avenue of the Champs-Elysées.
According to the spokesperson for the Anti-Neophobia Brigade, Franco Lollia, it was about “paying tribute to George Floyd”, but also “denouncing the institutional racism that gangrenes France.”
Another action brought together families of people who claim to have been victims of police violence and who have asked to go to the Campo de Marte to “amplify the solidarity movement against the impunity of the order of the armed forces”.
There were also congregations in Lyon, Bordeaux, Lille or Rennes.
In Athens, a demonstration of police violence against black citizens in the United States led in recent hours to clashes in the city centre.
Several people separated from the body of the demonstration and threw stones at the police, who responded by launching tear gas.
The protesters went from Parliament to a nearby Police station in the Kolonaki neighbourhood, from where they tried to march to the American embassy, but were blocked by the Police.
Two people were arrested last night and five others were detained in a similar protest after clashes with the Police outside the US embassy.
Thousands of people joined the wave of solidarity in Germany, where silent demonstrations were called in around twenty cities. In Berlin’s central Alexanderplatz square, some 15,000 protesters gathered according to police in a protest in which 1,500 people had initially registered; in Hamburg, the security forces put the number of participants at around 14,000; in Frankfurt, Munich and Dresden, at 8,000, 7,000 and 4,000, respectively.
And in Dusseldorf, where about a thousand people gathered, the protesters were silent for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, exactly as long as the policeman accused of second-degree murder kept his knee pressed against Floyd’s neck.