Anti-racism protesters hit the streets worldwide

BY:Emile Schepers| June 8, 2020
Anti-racism protesters hit the streets worldwide


The brutal murder of George Floyd by officers of the Minneapolis, Minnesota Police Department has led to a massive movement of anti-racist protest not only in the United States but worldwide.

In country after country, street demonstrations and other acts of protest are being carried out with the slogans “I can’t breathe” and “Black Lives Matter” in English and many other languages. Labor, youth, and left-wing organizations are leading these protests.

The World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), which has affiliates in 130 countries, and whose affiliated unions have more than 100 million members, is raising the matter with the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the United Nations. In its communication to these world bodies, the WFTU calls the protests in the United States

a righteous expression of U.S. workers’ and people’s outrage after the assassination of the 47-year-old African American George Floyd by police officers, [and] have been brutally suppressed by U.S. federal and state authorities. . . . The WFTU calls on the International Organizations to take direct action and initiatives in order to investigate phenomena of racist violence, repression against U.S. workers and to substantially investigate the complaints of police arbitrariness.

Expressions of anger at the death of George Floyd, and solidarity with the current movement to end racism and police violence in the United States, have poured in from labor, leftist (including communist and socialist), and people’s organizations from all over the world.

The French Communist Party noted that the murder in Minneapolis comes on top of the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent extreme rise in unemployment in the United States, which have hit the Black population very disproportionately. It expressed its solidarity with the family of George Floyd “and [with] the movement for civil rights, equality, and justice in the United States.”

The Syrian Democratic Youth Union, the youth branch of the Unified Syrian Communist Party, in a letter to the CPUSA expresses its “solidarity with the poor popular masses of America; the workers, students, and comrades in your party, in their recent protests and demonstrations against the brutality of racism of the American authorities toward their people.”

The Puerto Rican Workers Movement expressed similar sentiment:

We cannot remain silent in the face of the continuous attacks and murders to which the Black and other minorities who reside and are part of the people of the United States have been made victims. Today the United States is experiencing one of the crudest manifestations of a society which proclaims equality and freedom as supreme values but lives by feeding privilege, lack of equality, and discrimination. . . . The existence of white supremacists has received an extraordinary stimulus from the racist rhetoric of the president of the United States, Donald Trump, which has caused an intensification of the violation of the most elementary human rights of the most oppressed sectors of that society, multiplying the aggressive acts and murders of [members of] minority groups. . . . We insist that the demands which the U.S. people are making in their main cities should be attended to by means of effective responses which put a final end to racial, economic, and judicial inequality and that the firm basis be established for overcoming the false racial premises which prevail today.

The International Department of the Portuguese Communist Party wrote to the CPUSA in a similar vein:

The Portuguese Communist Party Condemns criminal acts such as the murder of George Floyd, and expresses its vehement repudiation of the violent repression and attempted criminalization of all those who, with major popular mobilizations, fight against injustice in the U.S.A. . . . This situation has exposed capitalism’s nature and the social scourges for which it is responsible, including the enormous inequality and injustice which characterize the USA’s social situation—with the lack of medical care and poverty—which are the results of the policies of successive U.S. Administrations.

In South Africa, the Ruling Alliance of the African National Congress (ANC), the South African Communist Party (SACP), and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) responded to the killing of George Floyd with a “Black Friday” protest, in which participants will dress in black every Friday to show solidarity in the fight against racism. ANC spokesperson Jesse Duarte explained that “the USA and its African American community in particular, have played a critical role in our own struggle against the institutionalized racism of apartheid. Today, we must as a nation add our voices in solidarity to their call: That Black Lives Matter.”

The World Peace Council expressed the views of many millions around the world:

The World Peace Council expresses its categorical and strongest condemnation of the cold-blooded assassination of George Floyd by the police force in Minneapolis, U.S.A. This recent killing of an unarmed civilian by the police is unfortunately not the first and only case in the United States. Neither is it a phenomenon of the current government only. . . . The forces of the U.S. political and economic establishment are trying to hide the root causes of the police killings in the middle of a pandemic crisis and massive unemployment, which derive from the racist and oppressive nature of the system itself. They fear the emerging deeper understanding by the people of the true nature of the capitalist rule in their country. The WPC expresses its solidarity with the struggling people and the oppressed racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S. We unite our voices with the U.S. Peace Council and the anti-imperialist forces in the U.S. in the struggle to end all exploitation and racism.

Statements also came in from the Communist Parties of Canada, Mexico, Spain, Greece, Lebanon, the Austrian Party of Labor, and others.

Images: Protest in Netherlands, Solidnet; Protest in Toronto, photo by Jason Hargrove, Creative Commons (BY-2.0); “Capitalism Means I Can’t Breathe, Communist Party of Greece.

Cover image: Protest in Germany, Photo, Evrensel.





    Emile Schepers is a veteran civil and immigrant rights activist. Emile Schepers was born in South Africa and has a doctorate in cultural anthropology from Northwestern University. He has worked as a researcher and activist in urban, working-class communities in Chicago since 1966. He is active in the struggle for immigrant rights, in solidarity with the Cuban Revolution and a number of other issues. He now writes from Northern Virginia.


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