For over a week, protesters railing against the American culture of police brutality have filled the streets of U.S. cities — from the thousands demonstrating in Minneapolis, home to George Floyd, and Louisville, home to Breonna Taylor, to the hundreds, or in some cases, dozens, in rural towns across the country.
In the past few days though, protests against state-sanctioned violence have gone global. The names of black Americans who have died at the hands of police or white vigilantes have been invoked in Europe, Africa, South America, and Australia, where protesters are standing in solidarity with those in the U.S. and raising issues about police brutality in their own countries. Here are some of the places protests have cropped up:
Demonstrators in Perth and Sydney have protested this week and plan to continue into the weekend, when Adelaide, Brisbane, and Melbourne will also hold rallies. These events are about more than solidarity with the U.S. though. Organizers are also fighting against disproportionate police violence against indigenous peoples.
Protesters emboldened by demonstrations in the U.S. rallied against their own country’s issues in Rio de Janeiro and Curitiba this week. Both protests against police violence were met with police violence, which should come as little surprise. In 2019, police in Rio set a record by killing 1,810 people — an average of 5 per day.
The U.S. Embassy in Athens was the site of an intense fight between demonstrators and police Wednesday. On one side, demonstrators held “Black Lives Matter” banners and threw molotov cocktails. On the other, police in riot gear shot tear gas.
Last week, as protests against Floyd’s killing spread across the U.S., French medical officials cleared three police officers in the killing of Adama Traoré, whose 2016 death in police custody sparked protests at the time. On Tuesday, those protests returned, with thousands of Parisians demanding justice for both Traoré and Floyd. The crowd of 20,000 gathered in defiance of the police who banned the protest due to coronavirus concerns.
The turnout at a protest Monday organized by Black Lives Matter Dublin surprised both police and organizers, with so many descending on the U.S. Embassy that social distancing became impossible. In response, police have launched an investigation of organizers, who have canceled plans for a follow-up protest.
The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi saw a few dozen protesters Tuesday calling for the embassy to do more to support demonstrators in the U.S. “You are complicit,” the protesters said in a statement. They also criticized law enforcement in their own country for “extrajudicial killings and use of unnecessary force when enforcing COVID-19 rules.”
Thousands came together in Dam Square in solidarity with U.S. protesters this week, but they also had a cause of their own. France 24 reports that some of the organizers aim “to stop the Dutch Christmas tradition of ‘Black Pete’ — one of Santa’s helpers who is dressed in blackface.”
Roughly 2,000 protesters marched to the U.S. Embassy in Auckland to protest racism and police brutality on Monday. One local outlet reported that the crowd included Samoan and Tongan flags, as many Pacific Islanders marched in solidarity. “The Black Lives Matter movement really resonates with us in New Zealand as Pasifika people because we connect with their struggle,” lawyer and union organizer Lisa Meto Fox told NZME. “Our histories are different but the fundamental experience of systemic racism is the same.”
Protesters outside of parliament in Johannesburg Wednesday yelled names and slogans that would sound familiar to anyone who’s attended a protest in the U.S. But they also demonstrated on behalf of Collins Khosa, a 40-year-old who was beaten to death by soldiers enforcing quarantine measures.
A public square in the heart of Stockholm swelled with protesters Wednesday, leading officials to revoke a permit because the crowd grew too large. Eventually, according to demonstrators, police broke out tear gas to disperse the group.
Around 50 bold protesters in Turkey, where people can be imprisoned just for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, demonstrated against police brutality in the U.S. and their own country this week. According to VOA News, clashes between police and protesters began “minutes” after the protests.
Protests in the U.K. have taken place in Liverpool, Manchester, and London, where thousands gathered Wednesday in Hyde Park chanting slogans such as “I can’t breathe.” Actor John Boyega was among the protesters. At one point he spoke to the crowd through a megaphone. “Black lives have always mattered,” he said. “We have always been important. We have always meant something. We have always succeeded regardless. And now is the time. I ain’t waiting. I ain’t waiting.”