European cities join global wave of anti-racism protests

Rome’s Piazza del Popolo remained silent for eight minutes — around the time, Floyd was pinned down by a white police officer, and thousands of people knelt in memory of Floyd with their hands in the air.

Protests across Europe to fight racism

Protesters had a marched in several cities across Europe on Sunday following a series of protests triggered by the murder of George Floyd–an African American at the hands of the U.S. police.

A video of the incident of Floyd begging for his life in Minneapolis went viral soon after, while a white police officer knelt on his neck, has contributed to furious protests across the globe even as governments try to discourage massive crowds, to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, several thousand protesters mobilized outside the U.S. embassy in Madrid on Sunday, chanting, “I can’t breathe,” Floyd’s last words, and seeking racial justice.

“Racism has no borders,” said Leonisa Seemdo, a 26-year-old Spanish interpreter from Cape Verde. “In all the countries where I have lived, I have been discriminated against due to the color of my skin.”


Besides, at the police cordon, they knelt in solidarity in an anti-racism demonstration. It was first initiated by U.S. football player Colin Kaepernick in 2016.

Minutes of silence

Rome’s Piazza del Popolo (“People’s Plaza”) remained silent for eight minutes — around the time, Floyd was pinned down by a white police officer. Thousands of people knelt in memory of Floyd with their hands in the air.

“We can’t breathe,” screamed the crowd, following a brief silence.

“It’s really hard to live here,” said the 32-year-old Senegalese migrant Morikeba Samate, one of the thousands who arrived in Italy after risking the dangerous crossing of the Mediterranean Sea.

The opposition to this wave of migration has bolstered the far-right in Italy and elsewhere in Europe, creating a culture of resentment that the crowd said needed to end.

Last month, Floyd’s death sparked the most significant civil unrest in America; after the killing of Martin Luther King in 1968.

Thousands of protesters mobilized across the country from New York and Washington to San Francisco this week.

Derek Chauvin, the police officer, was charged with second-degree murder while three fellow officers are facing lesser charges.

‘No Justice, No Peace’ Protests

Over 1,000 people have gathered outside the U.S. embassy in Budapest on Sunday at a Black Lives Matter rally.

Demonstrators put up signs saying “Police everywhere — Justice nowhere” and “No Justice — No Peace” and knelt for eight minutes.

“We’ve come together to battle racism,” Hungarian reggae singer G Ras said to the cheering demonstrators. “If we want to live in a better world, we need to change the way we live radically.”

In Spain, rallies took place in 10 cities off the coast of Africa, from Barcelona and Pamplona to the Canary Islands.

Another demonstration took place in London on Sunday amid a coronavirus ban geared at preventing large gatherings; after confrontations on Saturday at a nonviolent protest.

A statue of merchant Edward Colston was pulled down and spat on by protesters in Bristol. A town connected to the slave trade, BBC photographs revealed.

One black-clad demonstrator’s placard in Lausanne, Switzerland read: “Swiss police kill,” while nearly 10,000 protesters marched in Brussels, police said.

As countries continue emerging from the lockdowns, authorities are trying to balance the desire for citizens to demonstrate frustration against the possibility of protests increasing infection cases that have killed over 400,000 people worldwide.

On Saturday, tens of thousands of Australians challenged the call from Prime Minister Scott Morrison to “find a better way.” According to the interior ministry, more than 23,000 protesters have protested in France on Saturday.

Pandemic concerns

Floyd’s death came during a pandemic that disproportionately affected black people and ethnic minorities in global centers like London, Paris, and New York.

The historic economic crisis caused by the virus lockdowns has also statistically harmed the poor and disadvantaged more.

This combination of economic issues, social unrest, and frustration at the response of U.S. President Donald Trump has turned attention to the racial divisions of the world like few other events since the 1960s

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