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As George Floyd is mourned, the world stops to say ‘enough’

Floyd died after a Minneapolis police officer placed a knee on his neck for several minutes on May 25. His death has resulted in protests around the world against police brutality and racism.

In Richmond, Virginia, the former capital of the Confederacy, demonstrators toppled a statue of General Williams Carter Wickham from its pedestal after a day of mostly peaceful demonstrations across the commonwealth.

The statue of Confederate General Williams Carter Wickham lies on the ground after protesters pulled it down. The statue had stood in the park since 1891.

The statue of Confederate General Williams Carter Wickham lies on the ground after protesters pulled it down. The statue had stood in the park since 1891. Credit:Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that most of the demonstrators had already dispersed when a rope was tied around the Confederate statue, which has stood since 1891 in Richmond’s Monroe Park, which is surrounded by the Virginia Commonwealth University campus. In 2017, some of Wickham’s descendants urged the city to remove the statue.

Confederate monuments are a major flashpoint in Virginia. Last week, Governor Ralph Northam announced that a state-owned statue of former Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee would be removed from its perch on the famed Monument Avenue “as soon as possible.”

In London, protesters at an anti-racism rally in London clashed with police near the offices of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The clashes near Downing Street came at the end of largely peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstrations in the capital, including outside the US Embassy.

Protesters hold placards as they march through central London.

Protesters hold placards as they march through central London.Credit:Getty Images

Objects could be seen thrown at police wearing protective gear and video shared on social media appeared to show that after a horse bolted amid the clashes, a police officer was unseated after hitting traffic lights. Photographs showed the officer being treated on the ground.

Police in helmets and with shields formed two lines outside Downing Street, with mounted officers in-between.

British world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua decried racism as he joined a Black Lives Matter protest in his home town of Watford, about 15 miles north of London.

Reading from a script in a video posted on social media, Joshua said the “virus has been declared a pandemic” and is “out of control.”

Joshua, who was not wearing a face covering and was unable to observe social distancing guidelines given the size of the crowd, said he wasn’t talking about COVID-19: “The virus I’m referring to is called racism.”

He said people should “speak out in peaceful demonstrations”, but they shouldn’t use them “for selfish motives” and turn to rioting and looting.

In Doral, Florida, about a 100 protesters gathered on Saturday at President Donald Trump’s golf resort just outside Miami.

The protest was organised by Latinos for Black Lives Matter. Many carried signs saying such things as “Vote Him Out” and “Don’t Be A Bunker Boy,” the latter a reference to reports that Trump went into the White House bunker when protests in Washington got more violent.

Trump insists he only went there briefly for an inspection.

In Doral, about a dozen police officers were on hand for the protest but did not take any actions.

Several hundred people also gathered in downtown Miami for a march with plans for a bigger rally later in the day. The march was peaceful and led by a pastor who read Bible verses before everyone set out.

In Paris, French security forces sealed off the US Embassy and the surrounding streets to prevent a banned protest against police abuses in France and the United States.

 Demonstrators gather on the Champs de Mars in Paris.

Demonstrators gather on the Champs de Mars in Paris. Credit:AP

The demonstration planned for Saturday and others this week in the French capital were in support of US protests following the death of George Floyd.

Police had banned protests in Paris, citing the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus and concerns about public unrest.

In Berlin, thousands of mostly young people, many dressed in black and wearing face masks, joined a Black Lives Matter protest in Alexander Square.

Some held up placards with slogans such as “Be the change,” I can’t breathe” and “Germany is not innocent.”

People gather in Frankfurt.

People gather in Frankfurt.Credit:DPA

Amina Koss of Berlin says she’d taken part in Black Lives Matters protests before George Floyd’s death. She says she’s concerned some politicians, including in Germany, are making racism acceptable again.

Koss said: “We as a society don’t tolerate racism.”

In Rome, several hundred people protested peacefully in front of the US consulate in Naples, shouting “I can’t breathe” to denounce the police killing of George Floyd.

In English and Italian, protesters chanted “Freedom!” and “No Justice, No Peace” and carried handmade signs. It’s one of the first protests in Italy in solidarity with Floyd and anti-racism efforts.

Protesters in Bologna, Italy.

Protesters in Bologna, Italy.Credit:LaPresse

Police in riot gear enforced the perimeter around the protest, which was held along the seafront promenade opposite the U.S. consulate. There were no immediate signs of clashes. Most protesters wore facemasks and organizers urged them to keep their distance from each other because of the coronavirus.

There’s been an influx of migrants from Africa in recent years and racial incidents have been on the rise in Italy. Derogatory slurs directed at black soccer players make headlines, resulting in fines and sanctions for clubs.

In Chicago, thousands of people marched through the streets of Chicago on Saturday, chanting and waving signs to protest the death of Floyd and the police mistreatment of people of colour.

Meanwhile, in Philadelphia thousands of people demanding justice for Floyd marched peacefully through the city chanting “No justice, no peace!” Demonstrators gathered near the Philadelphia Museum of Art and its famous “Rocky” steps, then set off for City Hall where they chanted at police officers and National Guard members.

Smaller groups also marched in other Pennsylvania cities, including several in the Pittsburgh area.

A banner is unfurled in Lisbon, Portugal. It translates to 'Police violence, state terrorism'.

A banner is unfurled in Lisbon, Portugal. It translates to ‘Police violence, state terrorism’. Credit:AP

In Jacksonville, Florida, a century-old statue commemorating women in the Confederacy was defaced in a Florida park amid ongoing racial inequality protests.

The Florida Times-Union reports the “Women of the Southland” statue in Jacksonville was splattered with red paint and tagged with the letters BLM, an abbreviation of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The statue has been in the city’s Confederate Park since 1915, and activists have been seeking its removal. Protesters in southern cities have targeted Confederate monuments as symbols of racial intolerance.

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