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Photos: In city squares and parks outside U.S. embassy buildings, Black Lives Matter protests go global

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From Budapest to Birmingham, England, tens of thousands of Europeans took to the streets this past weekend in solidarity with Americans, calling for racial justice and an end to the abuse of power by police forces in the wake of the killing of George Floyd two weeks ago. They did so despite, in places, stormy weather—and in defiance, nearly everywhere, of strict social-distancing rules.

In Paris, Copenhagen, Barcelona, and Lausanne, Switzerland, demonstrators packed narrow city streets, major public squares and iconic parks to raise their voices against racial violence and police brutality. In cities such as London and Naples, Italy, the protesters assembled outside the U.S. embassy or consulate buildings to chant George Floyd’s name and demand justice. They carried signs, in English and in the local language, denouncing racism and showing their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Under sunny skies in Rome, a young crowd filled Piazza del Popolo, reminding others that racism is not an American problem, but a global scourge. In Brussels, protesters also used the occasion to call attention to local cases, such as that of Moïse “Lamine” Bangoura, who died in police custody in 2018.

The May 25 killing of George Floyd is forcing many in Europe to confront the continent’s troubled past with race relations. In Belgium, a former colonial power, a petition is circulating calling on the country to take down all statues of former King Leopold II. Leopold, who ruled from 1865 to 1909, is blamed for the genocide that killed millions in the former Belgian Congo colony in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In the English city of Bristol, anti-racism protesters toppled the statue of former slave trader Edward Colston and threw the bronze likeness into the River Avon.

A popular joke on Twitter reads, “Protesters say statue tripped, and fell into the water.” But by Monday, it had become clear the statue incident wasn’t being treated as a joke. Police said they had opened up an investigation into the incident. Meanwhile, members of the U.K. government, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, called it an act of “thuggery.” Home Secretary Priti Patel tweeted, “justice will follow.”  

There’s no sign the global demonstrations will go quiet any time soon. Perth, in Western Australia, is among the cities planning further street protests this weekend.

Scroll below to explore the global protests through photographs.

Spain:

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Thousands of people demonstrated against racism and in memory of George Floyd in Barcelona’s Plaça de Sant Jaume on Sunday, June 7.
Albert Llop—NurPhoto/Getty Images
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Demonstrators attend a protest against police brutality on June 7 in Madrid.
Juan Carlos Lucas—Nur Photo/Getty Images

France:

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A protest against racism and police brutality in Paris on Saturday, June 6.
Jerome Gilles—NurPhoto/Getty Images
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A protester in Paris holds a sign in memory of Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed by police in her home in Louisville, Ky. in March.
Jerome Gilles—NurPhoto/Getty Images

Italy:

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A Black Lives Matter demonstration in Rome on June 7.
Matteo Trevisan—NurPhoto/Getty Images
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A protestor at a demonstration in Turin on June 6.
Mauro Ujetto—NurPhoto/Getty Images
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Demonstrators in Milan on June 7 protest the death of George Floyd and decry racism towards black people.
Mairo Cinquetti—NurPhoto/Getty Images

England:

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Protesters demonstrate outside the U.S. embassy in London on June 7.
Justin Tallis—AFP/Getty Images
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Protesters in Bristol, England, push a statue of 17th century slave trader Edward Colston into the River Avon. Colston and the slave trade played a major role in Bristol’s development.
Giulia Spadafora—NurPhoto/Getty Images

Scotland:

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In Edinburgh, Scotland, protesters stand with a banner outside Holyrood Palace after a demonstration on June 7.
Andy Buchanan—AFP/Getty Images.

Denmark:

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People take part in a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Copenhagen on June 7. The demonstration began in front of the U.S. embassy and continued through the streets to Denmark’s parliament building, Christiansborg Palace.
Nikolai Linares—Ritzau Scanpix/AFP/Getty Images)

Germany:

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In Cologne, thousands of people participated in a protest against racism on June 7.
Ying Tang—NurPhoto/Getty Images
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Marchers in Cologne.
Ying Tang—NurPhoto/Getty Image

Belgium:

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Protesters at an anti-racism demonstration in Brussels on June 7.
Kenzo Tribouillard—AFP/Getty Images
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The family of Moïse “Lamine” Bangoura, who was killed by police in Belgium in 2018, protests in front of the Brussels Palace of Justice on June 7.
Didier Lebrun—Photonews/Getty Images

Poland:

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Protesters in Krakow on June 7.
Beata Zawrzel—NurPhoto/Getty Images

Switzerland:

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In Lausanne, protesters hold a banner honoring Mike Ben Peter, a 40-year-old Nigerian who died after being detained by police in 2018.
Fabrice Coffrini—AFP/Getty Images
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Demonstrators react during a protest against racism and police brutality in Lausanne on June 7.
Fabrice Coffrini—AFP/Getty Images

Hungary:

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More than 1,000 people gathered at a Black Lives Matter demonstration in front of the U.S. embassy in Budapest on June 7.
Attila Volgyi—Xinhua/Getty Images

Portugal:

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A demonstration against racism, xenophobia, and fascism, in Praça da Liberdade in the center of Porto, on June 6.
Rita France—NurPhoto/Getty Images

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Lyron Foster is a Hawaii based African American Musician, Author, Actor, Blogger, Filmmaker, Philanthropist and Multinational Serial Tech Entrepreneur.

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