It’s been a different kind of social distancing as protesters across the globe have united separately to demand racial and social justice as Black people continue to be killed with apparent impunity. Protesters joined again on Saturday to chant and hold signs reminding the world that Black Lives Matter as demonstrations and rallies against racism dotted countries across the map following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Memorial Day.
The image of now-fired Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin looking smugly at bystanders record him on video while warning he was killing Floyd has proven too much to ignore for people with any semblance of empathy. Floyd’s death seems to have inspired people nation to nation to speak out against the scourge of racism that has tainted societies for centuries. The protests have shined a light on the public health issues of racism and police violence and what is increasingly their deadly combination in the face of a pandemic that’s infecting and killing Black people at a faster rate than anyone else.
His death prompted immediate protests and violent clashes with law enforcement while others looted and burned down local establishments along with a police precinct. And while protests were still being held in cities and states, Washington, D.C., was bracing Saturday for additional groups of protesters to descend on the nation’s capital and make sure the racist president can hear them loud and clear. Saturday was also the twelfth straight day of protests taking place in the U.S.
One of the ironic consequences of the protests has been how police violence appears to have been increased despite the protests being because of police violence. Much of it has been one-sided as police respond with violence first.
Protesters have been seriously injured and brutalized by police, including a 75-year-old man in Buffalo, New York, recovering from a serious head injury when officers violently shoved the unarmed elderly activist to the ground.
Justin Howell suffered brain damage and a reported fractured skull after being shot in the head with bean bag rounds by a cop at a protest in Austin, Texas. Clips of the scene show cops shooting at volunteer paramedics and protesters carrying Howell’s limp body to get medical attention.
The result has been heightened outrage at the treatment of Black people by law enforcement as well as society at large. It’s forced white people to take good, hard looks at themselves to determine the roles they play in perpetuating or pushing back against racism.
It’s also prompted some leaders to take dramatic stances in favor and against Black Lives Matter. One mayor in Mississippi blamed Floyd for his own death while the mayor of Washington, D.C. decided she would let her actions speak words for her by having “BLACK LIVES MATTER” painted on a street leading up to the White House.
Scroll down to see more powerful images of people across the world protesting racism and police violence against Black people.