World watches what happens in United States

Global outrage over George Floyd murder

Merdies Hayes Managing Editor | 6/19/2020, midnight

The worldwide mass protests in wake of the murder of George Floyd are not uncommon when tied to American social change.

From the call of the late 1950s' “From Mozambique to Mississippi” rallying cry for Panafricanism; to the Solidarity Movement protests in Poland; Tiananmen Square in China; the fall of the Berlin Wall; the dismantling of Apartheid in South Africa; the Palestinian Uprising and Arab Spring in the Middle East; and the ongoing protests for democracy in Hong Kong — all provide generational evidence that those seeking liberty around the world have closely watched what happens in the United States. This is particularly true in reference to the Civil Rights Movement.

Today, racism-tinged events no longer startle even America's closest allies, though many have watched coverage of the George Floyd protests with growing unease. Burning cars and riot police featured on newspaper front pages around the globe have bumped, at least temporarily, news of the COVID-19 pandemic to second-tier status.

In London earlier this month, thousands gathered to offer support for American demonstrators. They chanted “No justice!, no peace!” and waved placards with the words “How many more?” at Trafalgar Square.

“Every Black person here remembers when another person reminded you that you were Black,” said “Star Wars” actor John Boyega at another protest at London's Hyde Park. “I need you to understand how painful this sh*t is...to be reminded everyday that your race means nothing. I'm speaking to you from the heart!”

In Berlin, the U.S. Embassy was the scene of protests under the motto “Justice for George Floyd.” Police there—just a generation removed from strict Communist rule against any form of dissent—said the gathering was largely organized via social media and was far larger than expected. No arrests were made.

In Italy, the Corriere della Sera newspaper's senior U.S. Correspondent Massimo Gaggi wrote that the reaction to Floyd's killing was “different” than previous cases of unarmed African-Americans killed by police and the ensuing violence.

Some nations maintain a strict authoritarian stance against protest. In China, the protests are being viewed largely through the prism of U.S. government criticism of that country's crackdown on anti-government protests in Hong Kong. Hu Xijin, editor of the state-owned Global Times, tweeted that U.S. officials are witnessing a divide as to what is and is not acceptable protest.

“I want to ask Speaker Pelosi and Secretary Pompeo, should Bejing support protests in the U.S. like you glorified rioters in Hong Kong?” Xijin wrote. Another spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign ministry has the temerity to tweet “I can't breathe” which both Eric Garner and George Floyd said before their deaths.

Iran has violently put down demonstrations by killing hundreds, arresting thousands and disrupting internet access to the outside world. Amid the images of American unrest, a state TV message accused U.S. police agencies of “setting fires to cars and attacking protesters” without offering any evidence.

Russia still hasn't expressed much shock, except a lone statement from the Foreign Ministry: “This incident is far from the first in a series of lawless conduct and unjustified violence from U.S. law enforcement. American police commit such high-profile crimes all too often.”