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Anti-racism protests sweep across Europe

A protester in Leipzig in Germany with a Black live matters sign. – AFP

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. 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 planet.

Fist raised events

Some 3,000 people, according to the Madrid prefecture, gathered at noon in front of the U.S. embassy in Madrid. Blacks and Whites, 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, their fists raised, for nine minutes, the time during which a policeman rested 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’ ban, thousands of Britons demonstrated in London for the second day in a row, but also in other cities in the United Kingdom, including Bristol. In this city in the South West of England with a slave-like past, a statue of the slave trader Edward Colston was unbolted and then trampled by the demonstrators once it fell to the ground, according to images from the BBC.

The day before in London, a peaceful demonstration by thousands of people had ended in scuffles: the police charged on horseback to disperse protesters who threw bottles at them.

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 knows 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 each 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, originally 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, a 32-year-old Senegalese man, one of the tens of thousands of migrants who arrived in Italy 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 law courts. “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 kneeled to 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 Copenhagen, some 15,000 people, police said, demonstrated peacefully to incite the Danish government to speak out against violence against the black community in the United States. Chanting the name of George Floyd – and for some brandishing posters “Black lives matter” – the procession left the Embassy of the United States in the early afternoon to go to the royal palace of Christiansborg.

In neighboring Sweden, in Gothenburg, nearly 2,000 people gathered but the demonstration – authorized – was quickly dissolved due to the limitation of gatherings set at 50 people in the country for health reasons.

Several incidents have broken out – including fights between demonstrators, throwing objects against the police and broken shop windows in a shopping center – local media reported. In the early evening, two people were arrested according to the police.

In Budapest, more than a thousand people also gathered near the American embassy, ​​respecting eight minutes of silence or denouncing “police everywhere, justice nowhere” on their placards.



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