Thousands of people took to the streets in European and Asian cities including the US on Saturday, demonstrating in support of George Floyd’s death protests against police brutality.
Taking a knee, chanting, and ignoring social-distancing measures, outraged protesters kicked off a weekend of global rallies on Saturday against racism.
The May 25 death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man arrested in the US state of Minnesota, has brought tens of thousands out onto the streets despite a pandemic that is ebbing in Asia and Europe but spreading rapidly in other parts of the world.
Large crowds gathered in major US cities including New York, Washington DC and Philadelphia on Saturday following earlier protests in solidarity with the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement in Asia, Australia and across Europe.
Protesters in San Francisco marched across the Golden Gate Bridge, bringing traffic to a standstill when they jumped the barrier separating footpaths from the roads, while large crowds marched in Philadelphia and Chicago. The protests across the US on Saturday appeared peaceful.
Thousands gathered in London and marched on the US embassy. According to local police in Germany, 15,000 people gathered in Alexanderplatz, in central Berlin, while 20,000 protesters, many of them chanting “black lives matter”, marched in the southern city of Munich. Thousands also demonstrated in Hamburg, Frankfurt, Mannheim, and Stuttgart.
In Paris, people gathered at Place de la Concorde despite a ban by the city on the protest for what it said were safety and health reasons. A second crowd had gathered on Champs de Mars on the left bank of the Seine. There were peaceful protests in Lille and Lyon and one planned in Marseille for Saturday night.
In Portugal, thousands joined protests in Lisbon, Porto, and several other cities, shouting “black lives matter” and “I can't breathe” in Portuguese and English. Antiracism protesters in Ireland staged a big rally outside the US embassy in Dublin and there were demonstrations in Galway and Limerick. There was also a large protest in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
In Brisbane, one of several Australian cities where rallies were held, police estimated 10,000 people joined a peaceful protest, wearing masks and holding "Black Lives Matter" placards. Many wrapped themselves in indigenous flags, calling for an end to police mistreatment of indigenous Australians. In Sydney, a last-minute court decision overruling a ban imposed because of the coronavirus allowed several thousand people to march, with a heavy police presence.
In Tokyo, Japan, marchers protested against what they said was police mistreatment of a Kurdish man who says he was stopped while driving and shoved to the ground. Organizers said they were also marching in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
In Seoul, South Korea, dozens of South Korean activists and foreign residents gathered, some wearing black masks with "Can't breathe" in Korean, echoing George Floyd's final words as he lay on the ground.
In Bangkok, Thailand, activists avoided coronavirus restrictions by going online, asking for videos and photos of people wearing black, raising their fists and holding signs, and explaining why they supported the Black Lives Matter movement.
In Brazil, there is an anti-racist rally scheduled for Sunday in São Paulo, Brazil's biggest city, against what protesters see as the increasingly authoritarian leanings of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro. One of the groups organizing the rally is Vidas Pretas Important, the Brazilian chapter of Black Lives Matter.
In North Carolina, a long line of cars snaked its way down a highway as mourners arrived for a viewing and memorial service at a church not far from Floyd’s hometown.