Fresh world protests in support of Black Lives Matter movement | Daily News


 

Fresh world protests in support of Black Lives Matter movement

A man is lifted up and taken to police lines after being beaten in clashes between protesters supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and those against racial equality in central London on Saturday.
A man is lifted up and taken to police lines after being beaten in clashes between protesters supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and those against racial equality in central London on Saturday.

FRANCE: Thousands marched in cities around the world for a second week of rallies Saturday to support the US Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, but also to highlight racism and police brutality in their own countries.

There were rallies in cities across Europe, with thousands demonstrating in several French cities, and clashes breaking out in Paris and Lyon.

Police arrested several far-right demonstrators in London after violence when they challenged people supporting racial quality there, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson denouncing their "racist thuggery".

The weeks of historic demonstrations have been ignited by the May 25 killing of African American George Floyd by a police officer -- the latest in a long line of unarmed black men being killed by white law enforcement in the US.

His agonising death as the officer knelt on his neck was filmed by bystanders and swiftly went viral, triggering fury first in the US and then around the world.

Protesters have flocked to the streets in over 700 American towns and cities over the last week to stand up to institutional racism after the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other African Americans. Some have debated whether these protests will increase the spread of COVID-19, but healthcare workers in New York (as seen in picture) joined hands to voice their support for the Black Lives Matter movement and unjust persecution of people of colour.

The mass unrest has forced an unprecedented global conversation on the legacy of slavery, European colonialism and white violence against people of colour, as well as the militarisation of police in America.

Police stopped protesters in Paris Saturday from marching through the capital, firing tear gas after some demonstrators pelted them with projectiles.

In the southeast city of Lyon, police used water cannons and tear gas at the end of a demonstration attended by about 2,000 people.

The Paris demonstration was called by a pressure group campaigning for justice for Adama Traore, a young black man who died in police custody in 2016.

Traore's sister Assa Traore called on those attending the rally to "denounce the denial of justice, denounce social, racial, police violence".

She drew a direct parallel between Floyd's death in the US city of Minneapolis and that of her brother, and renewed her call for a full investigation into his killing.

Amnesty International called in a statement for "a systemic reform of police practices" in France.

The rallies came at the end of a week when France's police watchdog revealed it had received almost 1,500 complaints against officers last year -- half of them for alleged violence.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner on Tuesday promised "zero tolerance" of racism in law enforcement, saying it is clear some officers "have failed in their Republican duty". In London, far-right protesters clashed with police in the city centre after gathering to challenge people demonstrating against racism.

Thousands of people defied coronavirus restrictions to assemble in and around Parliament Square, requiring a "major" policing operation, said the Metropolitan Police Service.

Television footage showed some agitators throwing punches, bottles and smoke bombs at officers as well as fighting with rival protesters.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the violence, saying "racist thuggery has no place on our streets".

Anti-racism protests went ahead in other British cities, including Brighton in the south and Liverpool in the north.

Thousands marched in several cities across Switzerland, with the largest in Zurich, where 10,000 people turned out. Police said one officer was hurt after a few hundred hard-left activists there began throwing projectiles. They made several arrests.

In Germany, around 2,000 rallied in the southern city of Stuttgart, the DPA news agency reported. In the north, another 500 turned out in Lubeck and 250 in Hamburg. There were no reports of any trouble.

In Australia, thousands turned out in several cities for the second weekend running, despite coronavirus restrictions. The biggest was in the Western Australian capital Perth.

Many demonstrators carried signs such as "Stop deaths in custody" and "White Australia stop lying to yourselves", highlighting the deaths of more than 400 indigenous people in custody over the last three decades.

Smaller protests for Aboriginal rights were held in Darwin, capital of the Northern Territory, and towns in neighbouring Queensland -- both regions with numerous indigenous communities.

In Asia, hundreds gathered in a Taipei park with some holding signs with slogans such as "This is a movement, not a moment". They held eight minutes of silence to remember Floyd, who was pinned to the ground by the white officer's knee on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds.

- AFP


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