PARIS (Reuters) – A few dozen protesters knelt in silence and held signs in front of the U.S. embassy in Paris on Monday in solidarity with George Floyd, an African-American whose death in police custody last week has sparked unrest in the United States.
Most dressed in black and wearing face masks due to the coronavirus crisis, the demonstrators held signs saying: “Racism is choking us,” “Justice for Floyd” and “I can’t breathe” – the last words Floyd gasped as a white officer knelt on his neck.
“George Floyd was a victim of a racist crime, a racist murder in the United States by a policeman,” said Dominique Sopo, head of French anti-racism group SOS Racisme which helped organise the protest.
In a statement, organisers urged widespread solidarity among anti-racist groups in France to denounce a crime that “unfortunately” was commonplace in the United States.
“We also call for the utmost firmness in France, including at the state level, where acts of racism in the police have been recently reported,” the statement said.
After less than an hour, the protesters were peacefully escorted away from the embassy perimeter by police in riot gear.
(Reporting by Antony Paone and Bate Felix; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)