In the UK capital, mostly peaceful protests flared up on Sunday evening, while activists and police clashed near Downing Street. Police officers were seen pushing and using their batons, and some even beat and grabbed protesters as they approached the police line.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson later claimed that the “demonstrations were broken by lightning” and said that he would bring those responsible.
Some defied coronavirus blockades and politicians’ warnings to do so. Many protesters wore masks during weekend rallies, while some carried messages that racial inequality was also a public health crisis.
But it turned out that they also drew attention to racial injustice in their own nations.
Statues from the colonial era are strewn with ropes
Hundreds of people gathered in front of the U.S. embassy in London on Sunday, despite British ministers saying public protests risked an increase in the spread of Covid-19.
The singers “No Justice, No Peace” and “Black Life Thing” bounced off a building in the town of Vauxhall, in a cheerful atmosphere for most of the day.
“Together we will let our voices be heard. Enough is enough. Blacks cannot endure suffering,” one protester said.
Sometimes activists chanted “Britain is not innocent.” Others had messages for the American president, with one sign that read, “Black lives are trumpeting their egos, Mr. President.”
The previous day, activists descended on Parliament Square in the city center. The protests were quiet for several hours, but warmed up in the evening when police and crowds clashed in front of Downing Street.
In one incident, a video posted online showed a police horse suddenly tightening, causing its officer to crash into a street light and fall to the ground. The loose horse then caused panic as he ran through the groups of protesters, before returning to the police stables.
“I stand with you. The brutal murder of George Floyd must lead to immediate and lasting change everywhere,” London Mayor Sadiq Khan said in a Sunday message to protesters, while condemning the minority that turned violent and reminding activists to try to limit physical interaction.
Numerous government ministers Boris Johnson had previously appealed to protesters to avoid the rally for public health reasons, and Interior Minister Priti Patel said on Saturday: “I would say to those who want to protest, don’t.”
Similar protests took place in Edinburgh, Scotland – and a dramatic scene took place in Bristol, in the south-west of England, where activists tore down a statue of 17th-century slave owner Edward Colston.
The monument has stood in the center of the city since 1895, but it has become increasingly controversial, so petitions have been created demanding its removal. On Sunday, he was piled by ropes on loud fans from a crowd of protesters.
European streets filled up after months of closure
The messages of these protesters resonated with thousands more around the world.
In Spain, a demonstration was given to gather outside the U.S. embassy, but, after refusing government orders, protesters marched through the city to Puerta del Sol – one of the city’s most famous and busiest places.
Protesters were seen holding placards and singing phrases including “Donald Trump is a criminal.”
According to data released by a government delegation in Madrid, about 2,000 protesters were present; organizers say 4,000 people attended.
Lisa Okpala, a spokeswoman for CNAAEB – an anti-racist platform in Spain – told CNN that the purpose of the demonstration was to support the Black Lives Matter movement in the US and “condemn and demonstrate against structural and institutional racism. ” in the land.
“We felt not only sad because, like I said, racism is a problem here too, but we also felt the anger that people in the United States are feeling now, especially the black community. So there is a mixture of sadness and anger,” Okpala said.
Thousands of people gathered in Rome’s Piazza del Popolo – the main square that was left empty just a few weeks ago, which defined the picture of the Italian destruction of the coronavirus in Italy.
There, activists there kept their knees silent for a full eight minutes in symbolic honor of Floyd, who died after Officer Derek Chauvin pressed a knee to his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.
During the demonstrations, protesters were addressed by representatives of the Italian migrant community and American expatriates; the crowd enumerated and marked the names of all those killed in the U.S. as a result of police brutality.
While the large gathering made it difficult for protesters to stick to government guidelines on distance, those demonstrating in the market tried to maintain a one-meter gap between them, and many also wore masks and face pads.
In Warsaw, meanwhile, the streets stood in front of the US Embassy. The previous day, crowds swam through Paris and other French cities such as Lille, Marseille and Nice.
The court allows the protests in Sydney to continue
Hours earlier, cities in Australia had been similarly active.
A court in the country overturned a ban banning a march and rally in Sydney on Saturday, allowing thousands to gather in the city.
Demonstrations were held by Aboriginal protesters, and protesters held banners demanding an end to police custody, both in the United States and in Australia.
New South Wales government officials tried to ban the protest due to concerns about social distance and were given a ban on Friday night. The South Wales Court of Appeals overturned it in time for the actions to take place.
Another gathering was held in Brisbane and Melbourne.
In Hong Kong, a small crowd gathered in front of the United States Consulate General. And in Seoul, South Korea, masked activists held signs on Saturday to commemorate Floyd’s death.
CNN’s Laura Perez Maestro, Al Goodman, Duarte Mendonca, Ben Wedeman and Alessandro Gentile contributed to the reporting.