George Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old Black man, died on Monday after a white officer used his knee to pin Floyd’s neck to the ground for several minutes. Floyd can be heard on a bystander video repeatedly pleading with officers, saying “I can’t breathe.” He eventually becomes motionless with the officer’s knee still on his neck.
The four officers involved in the incident were fired. Derek Chauvin, the white officer who pinned Floyd down, has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Protesters demand the three other officers be charged, as well.
Protests some violent have since erupted nationwide as demonstrators rally for justice for Floyd and all unarmed Black people killed by police.
Demonstrators in London, Berlin and Toronto gathered under banners declaring that Black Lives Matter and called for an end to police brutality in the United States and around the world.
In London, hundreds defied rules against large gatherings Sunday to rally at Trafalgar Square and mass outside the new U.S. Embassy on the south bank of the River Thames, where they chanted “no justice, no peace” in solidarity with the U.S. movement against racial bias in the criminal justice system.
Demonstrators there and in Berlin waved signs reading “I can’t breathe” some of the last words that the dying Floyd, captured by an onlooker’s video, gasped out in Minneapolis as a police officer pressed his knee down on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes.
Four Minneapolis police officers have been fired over Floyd’s May 25 death. Derek Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The other three are under criminal investigation.
London’s Metropolitan Police said they had made five arrests outside of the U.S. Embassy on Sunday two for assault on a police officer and three for “breaches of COVID legislation.”
“LONDON: lockdown has not been lifted,” Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted on Sunday morning. “The virus is still out there.”
In Berlin, demonstrators gathered Sunday for a second day to protest Floyd’s killing. Hundreds marched a mile through the city before gathering at Hermannplatz, a square in one of the German capital’s most diverse neighborhoods.
A total of around 1,500 people took part, according to police reports cited by German media. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” read one sign. “Being black is not a crime,” read another.
Police said around 2,200 people gathered outside the U.S. Embassy in Berlin on Saturday in a demonstration that ended peacefully.
In Canada, several thousand people rallied in Toronto on Saturday to denounce racism and demand answers in the death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, 29, who fell from a balcony apartment while police were in her home Wednesday.
In the Toronto protests, people chanted “not another black life” as they marched in face masks to control the spread of the virus.