International demonstrations in Toronto, Berlin, and London have broken out in protest of the death of George Floyd one week ago. Floyd died while in police custody on Monday, and video footage of his arrest and subsequent death went viral when it was discovered how he was treated by officers.
Protests that began in Floyd’s hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota, have spread to the international scene, according to The New York Post. Thousands have gathered in the international hubs holding signs saying “Black Lives Matter” and “Justice for George Floyd.”
London’s protesters gathered in Trafalgar Square Sunday, which was called the largest gathering since the COVID-19 lockdown, caused a traffic block outside the United States Embassy, according to BBC.
Rev. Sally Hitchiner, a pastor from St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church, told BBC that she’s “sympathetic to the issue but also surprised to see the strength of emotion that has gathered people together.”
“Clearly they’re not following lockdown and social distancing, but I think there’s a huge amount of passion there and that’s overriding their concerns. It’s an issue that requires passion but at the same time there’s a huge amount of risk in what they’re doing.”
Police arrested five protesters, according to the BBC report, all of whom were between 17 and 25 years old.
Berlin also saw protests with numbers in the thousands, according to the International Business Times. Many were also gathered outside the local United States embassy to make their demands.
German demonstrators held similar signs to their London counterparts, saying “Black Lives Matter,” “Justice for George Floyd,” and similar phrases.
The Berlin police reported no violent incidents associated with the Floyd protest.
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Toronto’s protest took a slightly different turn, with demonstrators telegraphing a double focus on both Floyd and 29-year-old Toronto resident Regis Korchinski-Paquet, who fell to her death off the balcony of a 24th-floor Toronto apartment building while police were there on Wednesday night, according to The Toronto Sun.
Canadian protesters carried signs that read “Stop killing us” and “Black Lives Matter,” while many chanted “Shame, shame” and “Say her name.”
Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders urged protesters to keep their demonstration peaceful. If the protest is done right, he hopes there’s an opportunity for police and civilians to “figure out collectively as a city” how they can “move forward,” Saunders added.
Demonstrations that have raged in the United States for almost a week have not de-escalated since the officer believed to be responsible for Floyd’s death was taken into custody on Friday. The officer seen putting his knee on Floyd’s neck, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with homicide.