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

Placards stand fixed to the railings of the Parliamentary Estate at Parliament Square as Black Lives Matter activists, gathered for the second consecutive day of mass protest against racism, demonstrate on Whitehall in London, England, on June 7, 2020. Today marked the fourth massive Black Lives Matter protest in London in eight days, amid a global wave of anti-racism demonstrations sparked by the killing in police custody of a black man, George Floyd, in the US city of Minneapolis on May 25. (Photo by David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
David Cliff—NurPhoto/Getty Images

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, antiracism 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 anytime soon. Perth, in Western Australia, is among the cities planning further street protests this weekend.

Scroll below to explore the global protests through photographs.


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


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


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


Protesters demonstrate outside the U.S. embassy in London on June 7.
Justin Tallis—AFP/Getty Images
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


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


The Black Lives Matter demonstration in Copenhagen on June 7 began in front of the U.S. embassy and moved on to Denmark’s parliamentary building, Christiansborg Palace.
Nikolai Linares—Ritzau Scanpix/AFP/Getty Images)


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


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


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


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
Demonstrators at a protest against racism and police brutality in Lausanne on June 7.
Fabrice Coffrini—AFP/Getty Images


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


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

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