The shocking on-camera death of African American George Floyd is drawing attention around the globe.
Anti-U.S. protests deploring the man’s death erupted in Western capitals on Sunday and newspaper headlines heaped scorn on American police over the incident last week in Minneapolis.
Floyd, a black man, died after white police officer Derek Chauvin pressed a knee on the back of his neck for more than eight minutes, even as Floyd repeatedly said he could not breathe. The incident was captured on video.
Thousands of protesters gathered in central London to voice support for American demonstrators who have marched in dozens of U.S. cities over the last five days to condemn the police conduct. Some of the worst U.S. violence in decades has erupted, with police cars and government buildings set afire, stores ransacked and looted, and public monuments defaced.
The British protesters chanted, “No justice! No peace!” and waved placards with the words, “How many more?”
Protesters in Denmark marched to the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen, carrying placards with such messages as “Stop Killing Black People.” In Germany, protesters carried signs saying, “Hold Cops Accountable,” and “Who Do You Call When Police Murder?”
Germany’s top-selling Bild newspaper carried a provocative Sunday headline: “This killer-cop set America ablaze” with an arrow pointing to a photo of Chauvin, who has been fired and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death.
In some newspapers, Floyd’s death and the ensuing American protests have pushed news of the ongoing worldwide fight against the coronavirus pandemic to second-tier status, at least for the moment.
In countries with authoritarian governments, state-controlled media showcased the demonstrations in the context of U.S. government complaints about crackdowns on protesters in other countries, such as China’s treatment of pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong.
Hu Xijin, the editor of the Chinese Communist Party-run Global Times newspaper, said U.S. officials can now see the protests out of their own windows: “I want to ask [House] Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi and Secretary [of State Mike] Pompeo: Should Beijing support protests in the U.S., like you glorified rioters in Hong Kong?”
Iranian state television has shown frequent images of the U.S. unrest, with one unsubstantiated report accusing U.S. police agencies in Washington of “setting fire to cars and attacking protesters.”
Russia said Floyd’s death was an example of U.S. police violence against African-Americans and accused the U.S. of “systemic problems in the human rights sphere.”
“This incident is far from the first in a series of lawless conduct and unjustified violence from U.S. law enforcement,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “American police commit such high-profile crimes all too often.”
Lebanese anti-government protesters flooded social media with tweets supporting U.S. protesters, with the hashtag #Americanrevolts becoming the top trending tag in Lebanon.
Source: Voice of America