The death of George Floyd in custody on 25 May, which sparked protests across the US, has also seen a number of international protests planed.
A protest scheduled later this week in Melbourne on 6 June. Last Saturday in Germany, there were protests held outside the American embassy in Berlin. In Canada, numerous protests have been held, one in particular was to protest the death of a woman who fell from a high-rise building in police presence.
Internationally, Denmark, Iran, and the United Kingdom, including Ireland are just some of the countries where people have held vigils and protests in respect to the death of George Floyd.
Closer to home, there was a protest and vigil held in Auckland and Wellington, New Zealand respectively today.
There is also a change.org petition that has broken the record for the largest petition signed in the US with over 9.6 million signatures. The petition was created in order to bring light to the incident and to have the officers involved fired and to have charges filed.
The protests have garnered some criticism, with fears that the protests will cause more COVID-19 cases. The mayor of Washington DC, Muriel Bowser, has since spoken publicly, asking people to consider the risk of exposure.
“I’m concerned that we had mass gatherings on our streets when we just lifted a stay-at-home order and what that could mean for spikes in coronavirus cases later,” she said in a press conference.
George Floyd died after a police officer held his knee on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes. The police were called to a shop in Minneapolis, Minnesota after an employee believed he had presented a false $20 note. The police officer, Derek Chauvin has since been charged with murder.
The protests are for more than just Floyd, they’re for the Black Lives Matter movement. A movement which has been growing for years, partly due to the numerous deaths of African Americans at the hands of police officers.
A report published in January 2015 by the Harvard Public Health Reviews titled ‘Trends in U.S Deaths due to Legal Intervention among Black and White men Age 15-34 Years by County Income Level: 1960-2010’ suggests that people of African descent in America are more at risk of dying in police custody.
“Between 1960 and 2010, 15 699 US deaths were classified as due to legal intervention, of which 63.3% occurred among men age 15-34. Among these men, 5,489 were classified as white (55.3%) and 4204 as black (42.3%), a percentage 3 to 4 times that for the US black population (e.g., 1960: 10.5% black, 88.6% white; 2010: 12.6% black, 72.4% white),” the report said.
Photo: By Fibonacci Blue available HERE and used under a Creative Commons Attribution. The image has not been modified.