In the press

Why have the George Floyd protests gone global?


IN THE PAPERS - Wednesday, June 3: The death of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer continues to dominate the papers. As the protests go global, The Washington Post looks at why his death resonates around the world. Also, we look at the symbolism of the masks worn by protesters, which have become more than just a medical device. Finally, Donald Trump's attitude to the protesters gets scathing treatment in the illustrated press.


From Australia to France, the death of George Floyd has sparked some soul-searching about police brutality against black people and it’s the focus of this article from The Washington Post which asks: why do the US protests matter worldwide? One former ambassador explains it's because people around the world understand that their own battles for human rights and equality would become more difficult if the America of Martin Luther King Jr., of "I have a dream", were to disappear.

We're seeing that ripple effect in France. Thousands of people gathered in the streets yesterday to protest against police violence. This comes after an autopsy showed that Adama Traoré, a young man of African origin, died of asphyxiation while in police custody in 2016. Those protesting around France brandished boards with both George Floyd and Adama Traoré’s names, Le Parisien reports. 

The New York Times is looking at the US protests and in particular the ubiquity of masks worn. The mask is not just a defining symbol of the pandemic, it has become a tool for protest… those who support wearing masks see it as an expression of civic duty and an affirmation of scientific authority. Its critics, like Donald Trump and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, see it as weak and emasculating. The mask is steeped in history from the plague to Napoleon: you can read about that in The New York Times. 

We mentioned Donald Trump there. Let's end with a scathing cartoon from the Times of London cartoonist Peter Brookes, a condemnation of Trump's attitudes towards the protests. You see Trump ordering troops to plant the American flag, like in Iwo Jima, but this time impaled on the body of George Floyd and his chilling last words: "I can't breathe".

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