By Agence France-Presse
Thousands marched in cities around the world for a second week of rallies Saturday to support the US Black Lives Matter movement, but also to highlight problems in their own countries.
There were rallies in cities across Europe, with thousands demonstrating in several cities across France, with clashes breaking out in Paris and the southeast city of Lyon.
Police arrested several far-right demonstrators gathered in London to counter an anti-racism march following violence there.
This was the second weekend of international rallies as people took to the streets to back US protests over the killing last month of black American George Floyd by a white police officer.
At the end the rally in Paris, police stopped people from launching a march through the streets of the capital, firing tear gas after some protesters pelted them with projectiles.
In the southeast city of Lyon, police used water cannons and tear gas at the end of a demonstration attended by about 2,000 people.
The Paris demonstration was called by a pressure group campaigning for justice for Adama Traore, a young black man who died in police custody in 2016.
Traore’s sister Assa Traore, one of the driving forces of the group, called on those attending the rally to “denounce the denial of justice, denounce social, racial, police violence”.
She drew a direct parallel between Floyd’s death in the United States and that of her brother and renewed her call for a full investigation into what had happened.
Amnesty International called in a statement for “a systemic reform of police practices” in France.
The rallies came at the end of week when France’s police watchdog revealed it had received almost 1,500 complaints against officers last year — half of them for alleged violence.
– Clashes in London –
In London, far-right protesters clashed with police in the city centre after gathering to counter an anti-racism march.
Thousands of people defied the rules to assemble in and around Parliament Square, requiring a “major” policing operation the Metropolitan Police Service.
Footage on television news channels showed some agitators throwing punches, bottles and smoke bombs at officers as well as fighting with rival protesters.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the violence, saying “racist thuggery has no place on our streets”.
A London protest by the Black Lives Matter group originally planned for Saturday was switched to Friday to avoid clashes with counter-protesters. But several hundred Black Lives Matter activists nevertheless demonstrated Saturday in London.
Anti-racism protests went ahead in other British cities, including Brighton in the south and Liverpool in the north.
Thousands marched in several cities across Switzerland, with the largest in Zurich, where 10,000 people turned out. Police said one officer was hurt after a few hundred hard-left activists there began throwing projectiles. They made several arrests.
Earlier in the week, around 10,000 marched against racism in Geneva.
In Germany, around 2,000 rallied in the southern city of Stuttgart, the DPA news agency reported. In the north, another 500 turned out in Lubeck and 250 in Hamburg. There were no reports of any trouble.
— Rallies in Australia —
In Australia, thousands turned out in several cities for the second weekend running, despite official warnings that demonstrations would undermine the country’s success in suppressing the coronavirus. The biggest was in the Western Australian capital Perth.
Many demonstrators carried signs such as “Stop deaths in custody” and “White Australia stop lying to yourselves”, highlighting the deaths of more than 400 indigenous people in custody over the last three decades.
Smaller protests for Aboriginal rights were held in Darwin, capital of the Northern Territory, and towns in neighbouring Queensland — both regions with numerous indigenous communities.
In Asia, hundreds gathered in a Taipei park with some holding signs with slogans such as “This is a movement, not a moment”. They held eight minutes of silence to remember Floyd.
Dozens also marched through the rain in Tokyo.
In Canada meanwhile, officials in the eastern province of New Brunswick announced Saturday that they had opened an investigation into the fatal police shooting of a 48-year-old indigenous man, the second such incident this month.