The Slatest

Protests Over George Floyd’s Death Spread Around the World

A large crowd of people with their arms raised, protesting and carrying signs.
About 4,000 protesters demonstrated in Auckland, New Zealand, on Monday. Michael Bradley/Getty Images

As protests over the death of George Floyd on May 25 sweep the U.S., people around the world are rallying to end police brutality. Some marched to U.S. embassies or consulates in solidarity, while others tied the Black Lives Matter movement in the U.S. to their own struggles with racial inequality and police violence. Some protests numbered a few dozen, while others had tens of thousands of marchers. Many, like their counterparts in the U.S., faced police forces that deployed tear gas.

In Paris, at least 15,000 people defied a coronavirus-related ban on protests and flooded the streets on Tuesday evening. Protesters linked the death of Floyd in Minneapolis to the city’s history of abusive policing practices that disproportionately affect Arab and black Parisians. In 2016, 24-year-old Adama Traoré, a black construction worker, died while in the custody of French police. He, like Floyd, suffocated to death. Parisians rioted in 2005 following the deaths of teenagers Bouna Traoré and Zyed Benna, who were electrocuted while trying to escape from the police. French police, citing security concerns and the coronavirus, have now banned a protest planned for Saturday at the U.S. Embassy in Paris.

In London, thousands of people opposed lockdown orders and marched from Hyde Park to Parliament Square on Wednesday. This follows in the wake of a demonstration in front of the U.S. Embassy on May 31. Some then marched to Grenfell Tower, the site of a 2017 fire that killed 72 people, many black and Arab. Protesters also gathered in Berlin; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Milan; Madrid; Dublin; Zurich; Copenhagen; and Athens, Greece, as well as in other European cities, large and small.

Several other countries marching in support of Black Lives Matter linked it to their own struggles with police violence. A May 28 protest in Rio de Janeiro called for an end to Federal Police operations inside favelas, the densely populated, low-income neighborhoods that house a quarter of the city’s nearly 7 million residents. A 14-year-old boy, Joao Pedro Pinto, was shot and killed in his home by Federal Police on May 18. During the protest, people chanted, “I can’t breathe,” and police used tear gas on the protesters.

In Sydney on Tuesday, thousands also marched and chanted, “I can’t breathe,” echoing the final words of both Floyd and David Dungay, a young aboriginal man who died while being restrained by prison guards in 2015. “It’s just gut-wrenching the climate of what’s happening in America, and it’s also happening here in Australia, though it’s subtle,” one protester told the Associated Press. On Friday, an Australian court banned a rally planned for Saturday in Sydney, citing concerns over the coronavirus.

Protests, murals, memorials, and other tributes to Floyd have sprung up in Auckland, New Zealand; Toronto; Tel Aviv, Israel; Istanbul, Nairobi, Kenya; Kolkata, and more and are expected to continue through the weekend.