Thousands of people protested in London and Berlin on Sunday in solidarity with protesters in the United States demonstrating against the death of a Black man, shown gasping for breath in a video clip, as a white policeman knelt on his neck in Minneapolis.
Chanting “no justice, no peace”, and waving placards with the words “How many more?” at Trafalgar Square, the protesters ignored UK government rules banning crowds because of the coronavirus pandemic. Police did not stop them.
Demonstrators then marched to the US embassy, where a long line of officers surrounded the building. Several hundred sat in the street and waved placards.
Several hundred protesters also staged a rally outside the US embassy in Berlin, holding up posters saying “Justice for George Floyd”, “Stop killing us” and “Who’s next”.
Al Jazeera’s correspondent in London Nadim Baba said protests in support of US demonstrators also took place in Manchester in the northwest of England.
“One of the chants that was popular was ‘no justice, no peace’, which is not a new chant in Britain,” said Baba, comparing the demonstrations to the 2011 London riots which were sparked by the death of a Black man named Mark Duggan during a police operation.
“That alerted people to the issue of discontent within the Black population and also [served as] a reminder about the consistent death of Black men in police custody over the past few decades,” he added.
Floyd’s death after his arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Monday has triggered a tide of protests in the US.
Demonstrations against racism and police brutality spread to many cities across the US as people in many parts of the country defied curfews to protest against the killing of Floyd.
The days-long protests sweeping the nation have reawakened outrage over years of deaths of Black people at the hands of police, renewing long-standing accusations of institutionalised and systemic racism.
Some rallies have turned violent as demonstrators blocked traffic, set fires and clashed with riot police, some of whom fired tear gas and plastic bullets in an effort to restore order.
Support in Middle East
There also have been expressions of solidarity with the demonstrators in parts of the Middle East region.
Over the weekend, Lebanese anti-government protesters flooded social media with tweets sympathetic to US protesters, using the hashtag #Americarevolts.
It is a play on the slogan for Lebanon’s protest movement, Lebanon revolts, which erupted on October 17 last year.
Within 24 hours, the hashtag #Americanrevolts became the number one trending tag in Lebanon.
In another expression of solidarity with US protesters, about 150 people marched through central Jerusalem on Saturday to protest against the shooting to death by Israeli police of an unarmed, autistic Palestinian man earlier in the day.
The slain man, 32-year-old Iyad el-Hallak, attended and worked at a school for people with special needs in the Old City, close to the spot where he was shot on Saturday morning, according to Palestinian news agency Wafa.
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the officers “spotted a suspect with a suspicious object that looked like a pistol. Rosenfeld added that no gun was found in the area. Israel’s Defence Minister Benny Gantz on Sunday issued an apology over the killing.
The police also raided el-Hallak’s home in the neighbourhood of Wadi Joz, where members of his family were questioned.
Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz said el-Hallak’s family members denied claims that he was carrying a gun, and quoted them as saying “he wasn’t capable of harming anyone”.