September 26, 2020

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George Floyd killing spurs fresh protests across Europe

Thousands have gathered in Berlin’s city center and across Germany in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Other European cities including London also saw demonstrations, while three rallies in Paris were banned.

Fresh anti-racism protests kicked off across Germany on Saturday, with demonstrators filling up city centers from Berlin to Dusseldorf. 

Thousands gathered in Alexanderplatz in Berlin’s city center, holding signs that said “Black Lives Matter” and “No justice, no peace.”  Demonstrators, many of whom were dressed in black and wearing facemasks, also held up placards with slogans such as ”Be the change,”  ”I can’t breathe,” and ”Germany is not innocent.”

“The #Alex is packed. No more people are being allowed in. Distancing is not possible,” one user tweeted.

Cologne, Münster and Nuremberg also drew large crowds, along with smaller cities such as Flensburg in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein.

“Thank you #Flensburg, it is an honor to be here. No to racism and fascism, for borderless solidarity. Anti-racism must become practical, every day,” Lorenz Beutin, the climate and energy speaker of Die Linke (the Left) Party tweeted.

The protests, which are being held in solidarity with demonstrations in the United States against the police killing of an unarmed African-American man, George Floyd, also took place in London, Amsterdam and Paris, while Australia and Brazil also saw large ralliesover the past 24 hours. Protests in Madrid and Brussels are also scheduled on Sunday.

Thousands gathered in London’s Parliament Square, with smaller demonstrations taking place in Manchester, Cardiff and Sheffield. 

”It is time to burn down institutional racism,” one speaker shouted through a megaphone outside of London’s parliament building, according to AFP. ”This is how we take care of each other,” she said, after urging everyone to put on a facemask. ”This is how we stay alive.”

In Paris, following a demonstration that drew 20,000 on Tuesday in support of the family of Adama Traore, a young black man who died in police custody in 2016, French police banned Saturday protests that were planned to take place outside the US Embassy and on the lawns near the Eiffel Tower.

The Paris police department said on Friday it had implemented the ban because of risks to social order and health dangers from large gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, demonstrators tried to gather in front of the US Embassy despite the ban. They were met by riot police who turned people away on their way to the embassy, which French security forces sealed off with metal barriers and roadblocks.

”You can fine me 10,000 or 20,000 times, the revolt will happen anyway,” Egountchi Behanzin, a founder of the Black African Defense League, told officers who asked for his identification.

lc/mm (Reuters) (DW)