South Korea joins global Black Lives Matter rallies

A South Korean demonstrator holds up a sign in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in downtown Seoul on Saturday. Photo by Thomas Maresca/UPI
A South Korean demonstrator holds up a sign in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in downtown Seoul on Saturday. Photo by Thomas Maresca/UPI | License Photo

June 6 (UPI) -- Activists in South Korea held a Black Lives Matter rally Saturday, joining other demonstrations spreading across the globe after the death of George Floyd.

An estimated crowd of some 100 people participated in the BLM rally in South Korea's capital of Seoul.


They began marching from Myeongdong, central Seoul, to Cheonggye Stream, as some held signs reading "Black Lives Matter."

Floyd, an African-American security guard and community leader, died at age 46, on May 25, at the hands of a white Minneapolis police officer, prompting the BLM movement to spread. All four officers involved in Floyd's arrest and death have been charged. Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer, who pressed his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly 9 minutes as he was dying, has been charged with second-degree murder. Three other officers involved were charged with aiding and abetting.


Protesters call for convictions of the Minneapolis officers, an end to systemic racism and an end to police brutality, which disproportionately impacts black people.

"We want to show solidarity with the U.S. movement and remember Floyd who was sacrificed due to racism," said Shim Ji-hoon, 34, who organized the event.

Rallies in solidarity with BLM have been held worldwide.

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In Australia, thousands protested the deaths of indigenous people in police custody in their country.

"I've been followed around in Kmart, looking like I'm going to steal something," Shanaya Donovan, an indigenous woman, said. "I've learned I have to go in my work uniform, so it doesn't look like I'm going to take anything. I get stared at by police when I'm in public."

After the official event finished, dozens of protesters clashed with police in Sydney's Central Station. Officers ordered protesters to leave and pepper sprayed several protesters.

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New South Wales Police Assistant Commissioner Mick Willing, who controls operation in Sydney, said there were three arrests among 20,000 protesters in Sydney.

In Britain, thousands rallied outside Downing Street, the official residence of Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Some of the protesters took a knee during a minute's silence before chanting, "no justice, no peace," and Floyd's name.


For most of Saturday, anti-racism protests on White Hall were largely peaceful until just after 6 p.m. when riot police moved in and a flare was hurled at police officers.

Fourteen people were arrested in London and 10 officers were injured, according to Metropolitan Police.

London mayor London Sadiq Khan tweeted his support for the protests Saturday, writing, "To the thousands of Londoners who protested peacefully today: I stand with you and I share your anger and your pain. George Floyd's brutal killing must be a catalyst for change worldwide."

On Thursday, a masked protester in the historic center of downtown Guadalajara, Mexico, set a police officer on fire during a protest, Anadolu Agency reported, citing viral video of the incident. The protest was demanding justice for Giovanni Lopez, who died at age 30 after police arrested him in Jalisco on May 4 for not wearing a face mask.

About 300 people Thursday night participated in a peaceful protest and candlelight vigil paying tribute to Floyd in front of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, the capital of Mexico. The protesters voiced support for the BLM protests across all 50 U.S. states against police brutality and racism.


"Your fight is my fight #BlackLivesMatter," "Racism kills. I can't breathe," and "Justice for George Floyd," read some of the protest signs.

Demonstrators built an alter decorated with candles to honor Floyd on one of the benches outside the embassy. They also drew a portrait of Floyd and attached a banner to the bench, which read, "I can't breathe," Floyd's last words as Chauvin kneeled on his neck.

Protesters also voiced opposition to racism in Mexico. At least one of the protesters held a sign that read "Justice for Giovanni."

"Just like our oppressions, our struggles are also linked," said Ebony Bailey, an African-American filmmaker from California studying in Mexico. "The anti-racist struggle in the United States is the same as that of Mexico and other parts of the world, the struggle of indigenous peoples is the same as that of blacks."

At one point, the crowd took a knee for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, in remembrance of the length of time Floyd had a knee pressed to his neck. They also read the names of scores of African-American victims of police violence.

In Canada, thousands came out Friday for protests and vigils for black people killed by police.


They chanted "I can't breathe" and "Enough is Enough" as they marched through downtown Ottawa, demanding that racism and police brutality end.

In downtown Vancouver, thousands gathered at the Olympic cauldron for a peaceful protest against racism in the school system.

"We want people to understand what's going on here," said Jacob Callender-Prasad, a protest organizer. "It's not just a myth. Canada does have large racial inequality."

Outside Prince George City Hall in British Columbia, more than 300 people took an 8-minute moment of silence.

Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tham urged protesters on Friday to "take care of themselves" and follow public health guidelines, including social distancing and using hand sanitizers.

In France, despite a ban against demonstrations because of the coronavirus pandemic, more than 20,000 people rallied at the French capital Tuesday.

The demonstrators shouted "no justice, no peace," in front of Paris' main courthouse.

They chanted the name of Adama Traore, a black French man, who died in police custody in a suburb outside Paris. Unlike Floyd, no video has surfaced of the incident, but many believe that like Floyd, he was asphyxiated by police.

Protesters demand justice in police killing of George Floyd

Demonstrators hold a sign in Los Angeles on June 14 for Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was shot by police in her home while she was sleeping. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

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