The police murder of George Floyd sparks mass protests throughout the world

6 June 2020

This weekend, hundreds of thousands of workers and youth will protest the police murder of George Floyd, not only in the United States, but in Australia, Canada, Britain, Germany, France, Belgium, Spain, Hungary, Brazil, South Korea and many other countries.

Demonstrations have already taken place this week in hundreds of towns and cities, in countries on every inhabited continent in the world.

In South and Central America, thousands of people protested in front of the Federal University of Paraná in Brazil. Others demonstrated outside the state government building in Rio de Janeiro. Hundreds have also protested in Mexico and demonstrations have been held in Bermuda and Argentina.

Australasia has seen dozens of protests, including of more than 3,000 people in Sydney, Australia, more than 2,000 in Perth and tens of thousands in Auckland, New Zealand. They carried banners that declared, “The government does not care! We the people must help each other!” and “Australia is not innocent.”

In Asia and the Middle East, demonstrations have been held in India, Japan, the Philippines, Turkey, Israel and Iran.

In Africa, rallies have been organised in Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria and South Africa.

At least 19 towns and cities in Canada have seen protests, including many thousands in Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver.

Across Europe, Germany saw thousands protest outside the US embassy in Berlin and the consulate in Hamburg. Slogans included “Your Pain Is My Pain, Your Fight Is My Fight.” Thousands have protested in Amsterdam and Rotterdam in the Netherlands; in Athens, Greece; in Copenhagen, Denmark; Stockholm, Sweden; Helsinki, Finland; Oslo, Norway and Reykjavik, Iceland. Other demonstrations have been held in Italy, Belgium, Spain, Ireland, Poland, Lithuania, Slovakia and Switzerland.

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The United Kingdom has witnessed at least 25 separate protests. Over 15,000 people gathered in Hyde Park on Wednesday and marched to the prime minister’s residence on Downing Street, carrying placards reading, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice you have chosen the side of the oppressor,” and, as in Australia, “The UK is not innocent.” In France, 5,000 marched in Montpellier and 25,000 people defied a ban to protest in Paris. A speaker at the rally announced, “What’s happening in the United States highlights what is happening today in France.”

Of extraordinary significance, in Austria, a massive 50,000 demonstrated in Vienna Thursday. If a similar percentage of the urban population protested in New York, this would equate to a rally of over 200,000 people.

The international outpouring of solidarity is animated by opposition to Donald Trump’s brutal repression of peaceful multi-ethnic protests. Their scale also indicates an initial recognition of the dangers posed to the American working class and billions throughout the world by Trump’s drive to establish a presidential dictatorship. Moreover, the working class in every country sees in the scenes playing out in the US an echo of its own social conditions, dominated by extreme and growing levels of inequality, which dictate ever more fascistic forms of rule the world over.

In addition to the state violence in the US, Tuesday’s demonstration in Paris protested the death of French youth Adama Traoré, beaten and asphyxiated by police in 2016. It follows more than two years in which “yellow vest” protests against social inequality have been brutalised by the riot police of President Emmanuel Macron.

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Brazilian workers are demonstrating against the wave of killings carried out by police in Rio de Janeiro’s favellas under the oversight of fascistic President Jair Bolsonaro.

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