Why George Floyd’s death at the hands of police is resonating around the world
London — By the tens of thousands they’ve gathered in largely peaceful protests, mirroring scenes across the United States as people speak out against police violence and racism after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
But the protests around the world are not being held simply in solidarity with the U.S. demonstrators: Floyd’s death has reignited rage against racial injustices in communities across the globe.
Christian Kabasele, who joined a protest in Dublin, Ireland, said he, “felt like that could have been me. That could have been my brother.”
From Australia and New Zealand, to the capital of Europe, thousands echoed the refrains of “I can’t breathe!” and “no justice, no peace!” heard in many American cities.
“Black lives matter!” shouted the crowds in London, with a protest leader urging everyone to “say his name: George Floyd!”
In Paris it was a different name, but a similar case. Floyd’s death has reawakened fury over the 2016 death of 24-year-old Adama Traore in police custody.
But the scenes in Paris did mirror the U.S. in many ways — including the fact that some of the demonstrations erupted in violence. French police in riot gear fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters who were pelting them with whatever they could get their hands on.
While citizens made their voices heard on the streets, some world leaders have been left speechless.
Asked about the apparent use of tear gas on protesters in Washington D.C., to clear the way for President Trump’s photo-op in front of a church, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was left at a loss for words for almost 20 seconds.
Finally he spoke: “We all watch in horror and consternation what’s going on in the U.S.