The United States is expecting massive rallies against racial inequality and police brutality on Saturday June 6, a day that will also be marked by a new ceremony in memory of George Floyd in Raeford, his native state from North Carolina. The marches now go beyond this one case, to denounce systemic racism and demand real change.
Large rallies are coming up in many American cities. But the United States is not the only country to mobilize and rallies are expected today in the rest of the world.
Massive mobilization expected in Washington
“Take your knee out of our neck!” “ Thousands of protesters converged on Saturday in the center of the federal capital Washington (District of Columbia). Under a blazing sun, the crowd began to gather in the streets leading to the White House, but also around the Lincoln memorial.
It was in front of this imposing monument that the Atlanta pastor (Georgia) Martin Luther King had, on August 28, 1963, in front of nearly 250,000 people, launched “I have a dream” in a speech that has become a reference in the fight for civil rights.
More than a dozen collectives, many of them spontaneously formed on social media after the death of George Floyd, whose death has revived the country’s racial wounds, have called to invade the streets of Washington. Tens of thousands of people are expected during the day, which is expected to be the largest mobilization since the movement began in the capital nine days ago.
Protesters also gathered in many cities in the United States, including New York (New York), Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), or Minneapolis (Minnesota), where George Floyd died and where the riots began.
Police suspended and sacked
The controversy increases in the face of the repression of the demonstrations by the police. Several videos showing violent police interventions against peaceful protesters have emerged in recent days.
The latest, broadcast Thursday evening, shows a protester, pushed by two police officers, who violently struck the ground, while he is alone facing dozens of them in the city of Buffalo, in the State of New York. A first official statement said that the 75-year-old protester, who was bleeding profusely and seemed to have lost consciousness, had “Stumbled and fallen”.
In response to the outrage, the two police officers involved were suspended. New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has asked for their dismissal, and the local attorney has opened an investigation. In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio, booed Thursday at a ceremony honoring George Floyd in Brooklyn for failing to condemn police brutality against nonviolent protesters, has promised to investigate the reported incidents and indicated that disciplinary action would follow. Two officers have been suspended, city police chief Dermot Shea said on Friday “Disturbing incidents”. One is seen in a video pushing a woman to the ground, the other removing a mask from a protester and using pepper spray against him.
On the other side of the country, in Washington State, the mayor of Tacoma asked for the dismissal of police officers implicated in the death of a black man on March 3, after the broadcasting of a new video seeming to show them in trying to go after the man, flattened on the ground by the road. In Indianapolis, Midwest, police were investigating due to another video, showing police officers taking out batons and pepper spray when a protester was arrested on Sunday.
Police repression framed in certain states
In anticipation of the new protests, the Seattle police chief announced a 30-day ban on the use of tear gas.
Minneapolis police have also announced that they will now ban “Choke plugs”, a dangerous technique used in particular in 2014 in New York on Eric Garner, another black man dead at the hands of the police, who then shouted ” I can not breathe ! “, the same words spoken by George Floyd before his death.
Australia, Japan, South Korea, Europe: multiple demonstrations against police violence
Thousands of people took to the streets of major cities in Australia and Europe on Saturday, adding to the hundreds more who also gathered in Tokyo and Seoul to join the rage against racial discrimination and police methods born in the United States.
In Australia, tens of thousands of people demonstrated Saturday across the country to denounce racial inequality, defying government orders and the Covid-19 pandemic.
Protesters waved banners proclaiming ” I can not breath anymore “. The organizers of the protests explained that they also wanted to denounce the very high rate of imprisonment among the Aborigines, and the deaths – more than 400 during the last thirty years – of members of this community while they were detained by the police.
Many of the demonstrators wore protective masks and tried to respect the sanitary distances as best they could; 10,000 people marched peacefully, according to police estimates. Protests are also taking place in Melbourne, Adelaide and other Australian cities.
AT Tokyo, protesters marched not only to support the Black Lives Matter movement, but also to denounce the treatment of a Kurd claiming to have been brutalized and tackled on the ground by the police during his arrest. “I want to show that there is racism now in Japan”said Wakaba, a 17-year-old high school student holding up a sign with her friend Moe “If you are not angry, it is that you are not paying attention”.
Several dozen South Koreans and foreign residents gathered in Seoul. Some wore black masks which were inscribed in Korean ” I can not breathe “. Others participated in a “Viral manifestation” online, like in Thailand.
“South Korea is becoming a multicultural society, organizer Shim Ji-hoon told Reuters. So I proposed this event to raise awareness about racial discrimination and allow a world to live together. “
AT London, their faces covered with protective masks for some, hundreds of demonstrators gathered in front of the Parliament, holding up banners with the slogan “Black Lives Matter”. “The UK is not innocent”, denounced the demonstrators, drum beating. Many in Manchester also paraded to remind them that“Being black is not a crime” and “Put an end to racism”, another “Pandemic”. “It is time to reduce racism to ashes!” “shouted a protester into a megaphone.
AT Tunis, about 200 people have claimed ” Justice “ and power ” breathe “ in the face of racism, which “Suffocates”. “This scourge also exists in Tunisia”said an official with the Tunisian Association for the Support of Minorities, while migrants from sub-Saharan Africa often claim to be victims of verbal and physical assault in the country.
Also in Liège, in the east of Belgium, 700 people defied the ban and participated in a march against racism, police said.
In Germany, Bayern Munich players showed their solidarity by warming up on Saturday with a t-shirt with the inscription “Red card against racism – BlackLiveMatters”, before the Bundesliga match against Leverkusen.
Demonstrations are planned during the weekend in France, Germany, Great Britain, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium and Hungary, with often, as in Paris, slogans relating to cases individuals occurring in each country.
Inspired by the tragic event, the famous street artist Banksy unveiled a new work on Instagram, where we see a candle, placed next to a photo of a black person, igniting an American flag. “People of color are abandoned by the system. The white system », he laments.
American protests in Iraq spark memories
The theater last fall of an unprecedented revolt, Iraq has for the past few days been watching the protests that have shaken the country that invaded it seventeen years ago. In Arabic, on Twitter, hashtags “We want to breathe” and “America revolts” quickly invaded the screens. The first refers to the last words of George Floyd, the second is a misuse of “Iraq revolts”, launched shortly before the start of the harshly repressed “October Revolution”.
Yassine Alaa, a young 20-year-old protester, joined the protests at the iconic Tahrir Square in the Iraqi capital on 1er October. Eight months later, he is still there, even though the protesters’ tents are mostly empty.
Hundreds of thousands of Americans marching to denounce racism and demand justice for George Floyd “Are brave”. “They have every reason to be angry, but riots are not the solution”, according to Yassine, who cannot forget the repression that has killed 550 people in Iraq in recent months – and as many families still awaiting justice.
“What we have in common with the American protesters is the injustice we all suffer”, says Haider Karim, 31, who regularly calls family members who have emigrated to the United States to discuss the latest developments, and who himself participated in the bloody “October Revolution” and now dormant.
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