Black Lives Matter Globally
As a series of controversial shootings of African-American men by police has renewed attention to the Black Lives Matter movement in the U.S., people around the world have stood in solidarity with black Americans seeking to root out racial profiling, excessive use of force, and lack of accountability in U.S. law enforcement. For some, the demonstrations have been defined mostly by a kind of international allyism, but in many parts of the world, the American movement has prompted reflection on the treatment of local black communities—native, historical, and immigrant—by law enforcement, politicians, and broader society. Here is a look at the global demonstrations and solidarity movements in the name of Black Lives Matter:
From South Africa to Senegal, activists have taken to the streets in solidarity with black Americans protesting police violence. For South Africans in particular, the struggle for the recognition of systemic injustices resonates greatly, with ongoing battles over the legacy and residuals of apartheid continuing to flare up across the country. Some African political officials have expressed outrage at what they perceive as the U.S. government’s hypocrisy in condemning African leaders for human rights abuses while black Americans continue to suffer from profiling and disparate use of excessive force at the hands of U.S. law enforcement.
- “Why Africans are showing solidarity with Black Lives Matter movement” (The Christian Science Monitor)
- “Cape Town group marches on US consulate over #blacklivesmatter” (News24)
- “South Africans demonstrate in support of ‘Black Lives Matter’” (Africanews)
- “Why #BlackLivesMatter is important for Africa” (Ventures Africa, commentary)
Protests in Montreal and Vancouver expressed solidarity with the plight of Canada‘s southern neighbors, while Toronto’s Black Lives Matter organization has stood at the center of controversy stemming from its protest at Toronto Pride. The group, an honored guest at Pride, halted the march to call attention to ongoing racism within the LGBTQ community and call for the excision of police floats from the parade and inclusion of more people of color in Pride planning and events. Meanwhile, U.S. Black Lives Matter activists made plans to travel to Brazil to meet with anti-police violence advocates head of the Rio Olympics to draw attention to what they call the “globalization of police brutality,” an effect of international development practices that accompanies gentrification and urban “cleanup” ahead of events like the Olympics and disparately targets poor and black communities.
- “The Black Lives Matter Movement Is Heading To The Rio Olympics” (The Huffington Post)
- “Why Brazil has no Black Lives Matter movement, despite some shocking police killings” (The Washington Post, December 2015)
- “Second rally in solidarity with Black Lives Matter movement held in Montreal” (Global News)
- “Hundreds in Vancouver join global Black Lives Matter protests” (CBC News)
- “The controversy surrounding Black Lives Matter in Canada” (The Washington Post)
- “How many black men have been killed by Toronto police? We can’t know” (The Toronto Star, August 2015)
Thousands have gathered across Australia in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, drawing attention not only to the campaign against racism in U.S. law enforcement, but also to that experienced by Indigenous and African Australians and African immigrants. Multiracial coalitions of demonstrators took to the streets of Sydney and Melbourne, drawing attention to the deaths of Indigenous Australians while in police custody and ongoing racism in Australian society.
- “Protesters rally in Melbourne in support of Black Lives Matter movement” (9News)
- “#BlackLivesMatter: Rally held in Melbourne to show ‘solidarity’ after US racial violence” (ABC News)
- “‘Standing Proud’: Black Lives Matter Rally Hits Sydney” (Huffington Post Australia)
- “African Australians using video as a tool against racial profiling” (SBS)
In Europe, where anti-black racism overlaps with xenophobia as many black European communities are relatively recent arrivals to the continent, anti-racism and immigration activists came together to condemn police brutality against black Americans. But protesters argue the devaluation of black lives is not foreign to Europe. The European Union’s refugee policies have come under scrutiny as some commentators have argued that the refusal to categorize many migrants from sub-Saharan Africa as refugees has created a tiered system that has both stigmatized and criminalized black migrants, forcing many to return to oppressive political regimes and bleak economic conditions.
- “Black Lives Matter protests spread to Europe” (CNN)
- “Black Lives Matter rallies hundreds in second UK day of protest” (The Guardian)
- “Black Lives Matter protest in Liverpool – Recap” (The Liverpool Echo)
- “Watch: ‘A lot of people are hurting’ – Crowds gather for Dublin ‘Black Lives Matter’ march” (The Irish Independent)
- “Black Lives Matter marches proceed in Dublin, Cork, Galway” (The Irish Times)
- “Black Lives Matter demonstrates in Copenhagen” (The Local)
- “Black Lives Matter-protest op de Dam in Amsterdam” (NOS, in Dutch)
- “For Europe, Arab Lives Matter More Than Africans’” (The New York Times, commentary)
(Image Credit: Guy Stayner/ABC News)