From Bristol to Budapest via Madrid and Rome, tens of thousands of Europeans joined anti-racism protests on Sunday, prolonging the wave of protests sparked in the United States by the death of a black man asphyxiated by a white police officer in Minneapolis.
Some 3,000 people, according to the Madrid prefecture, gathered in the middle of the day outside the US Embassy in Madrid. Black and white, they denounced the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American, repeating his last words “I cannot breathe”, and chanting “No peace without justice”.
In Rome, an unforeseen demonstration gathered in the vast Piazza del Popolo thousands of young people who knelt in silence, raised their fists, for nine minutes, the time during which a policeman pressed his knee on the neck of George Floyd until ‘when he died. When they got up, they shouted: “I can’t breathe”!
Braving the authorities’s ban, thousands of Britons demonstrated in London for the second day in a row, but also in other cities across the UK, including Bristol.
In a city in the southwest of England with a slave-like past, a statue of the slave trader Edward Colston was unbolted and then trampled on by protesters after it fell to the ground, according to BBC footage.
The day before in London, a peaceful demonstration by thousands of people ended in scuffles: the police charged on horseback to disperse protesters who threw bottles at them.
In Thailand where an anti-racist demonstration had been banned, more than 200 people took part in a virtual protest, logging onto the Zoom conference site to watch videos on the “Black Lives Matter” movement. and raise your fist against police violence.
The Madrid demonstrators also knelt on the ground by raising their fists. They then walked peacefully to the iconic Puerta del Sol, in the heart of the capital.
“Racism has no borders,” said Leinisa Seemdo, a 26-year-old Spanish translator from Cape Verde. I have lived in China, Portugal, and now in Spain, and in every country I have experienced discrimination because of my skin color. “
Demonstrations took place in a dozen Spanish cities, from Barcelona in the north to Valencia on the Mediterranean coast.
“What if I were black”
In the crowd in Rome, which included many African immigrants, Michael Taylor, from Botswana, came with his whole family.
“I am a white African, and I sometimes feel fear and contempt only because I am a foreigner,” he told AFP. Imagine what it would be like if I were black. “
“It’s really hard to live here,” said Morikeba Samate, 32, a Senegalese migrant who arrived in Italy by the tens of thousands after the dangerous crossing of the Mediterranean. “They think we are all thieves.”
“My color is not a threat”
In Brussels, nearly 10,000 protesters according to the police, expressed their anger in front of the courthouse. “The murder of George Floyd obviously woke up a lot of people,” said Ange Kaze, spokesperson for the Belgian Network for Black Lives. The police intervened after the demonstration to disperse thugs.
Thousands also marched against racism in the Netherlands, in the North to Zwolle and in Maastricht in the South.
In Germany, players from four Bundesliga clubs knelt on the ground on Sunday in support of anti-racism after Bayern and Dortmund.
Dressed in black, thousands of Swiss people marched to Lausanne, where signs proclaimed “My color is not a threat”.
In Budapest, more than a thousand people also gathered near the US Embassy, observing eight minutes of silence or denouncing “police everywhere, justice nowhere” on their placards.
The outrage that took tens of thousands of Americans to the streets after the death of George Floyd gradually spread to the rest of the world.
On Saturday, protests took place from Australia to Tunisia via France and Britain, protesters also denouncing racism in their own country.