World watches what happens in United States
Global outrage over George Floyd murder
Merdies Hayes Managing Editor | 6/19/2020, midnight
In Lebanon, anti-government protesters inundated social media with tweets sympathetic to U.S. marchers. They used the hashtag #Americarevolts, a play on the slogan for that country's protest movement “Lebanon revolts” which erupted in October 2019. And in Jerusalem-with George Floyd also in mind-about 200 people marched through the central portion of the city to protest the shooting death by Israeli police of an unarmed, autistic Palestinian man late last month. They thought Iyad Halak was carrying a gun. When he failed to obey orders to stop, police opened fire.
In Dublin, Ireland-a city very familiar with protests-crowds marched through the streets chanting “I Can't Breathe.”
Across the Atlantic, large crowds in Brazil gathered outside government headquarters holding signs that read “Vidas Negras Importan: Black Lives Matter.” Similar protests have taken place in Buenos Aires and in Mexico City.
“People in Ireland are seeing what's happening, and we are just as angry and frustrated,” Irish protester Anna Herevin told CNN.
The head of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, equally condemned the George Floyd murder in lamenting the “continuing discriminatory practices against Black citizens of the United States of America.”
The dramas of the world's sole superpower has, for a while, captivated audiences in ways unseen since the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In some instances, the outpouring of anger over Floyd's murder-intensified by social media videos shared around the world-may have emboldened existing movements over ethnic, racial and religious violence and discrimination against minorities.
In France, Floyd's murder tended to rekindle memories of a 2016 incident in which Adama Traore, a 24-year-old from the suburbs of Paris, died of asphyxiation after being detained by police. Traore's case triggered France's own Black Lives Matter movement.
“How can one not think of Adama's terrible suffering when he had three police officers on him and he was repeating “I can't breathe,” a Traore support group wrote on Facebook. “His name was George Floyd, who just like Adama, died because they were Black.”
A dimension of the global reaction may also tap into long-standing attitudes toward American imperialism abroad, and hypocrisy at home in terms of the Black Lives Matter movement call for racial justice.
“People all over the world understand that their own fights for human rights, for equality and fairness, will become so much more difficult if we are going to lose America as the place where 'I have a dream' is a real and universal political program,” said Wolfgang Ischinger, a former German ambassador to the United States and current chairman of the Munich Security Conference. “Let's hope the demonstrations all over the world will help remind Washington that U.S. soft power is a unique asset that sets America apart from other great powers.”