• China, Iran, and Russia condemned and mocked the U.S. for the killing of Floyd
  • Protests emerged in UK, Germany, Italy and Denmark.
  • "Black lives matter" has become global slogan

The riots sweeping the U.S. in the wake of the police killing of an unarmed black man named George Floyd in Minneapolis has sparked much commentary and condemnation overseas.

In London over the weekend thousands of people – many carrying “Black Lives Matter” and "Justice for George Floyd" placards -- protested against the killing of Floyd by marching from Trafalgar Square to the U.S. embassy in Battersea, South London.

Demonstrators also gathered in Manchester chanting "black lives matter" and "say my name, George Floyd." Reportedly many protesters in England ignored social distancing rules.

“I'm very sympathetic to the issue but also surprised to see the strength of emotion that has gathered people together," said Reverend Sally Hitchiner, associate vicar at St Martin-in-the-Fields. "Clearly they're not following lockdown and social distancing [protocols], but I think there's a huge amount of passion there and that's overriding their concerns. It's an issue that requires passion but at the same time there's a huge amount of risk in what they're doing."

Some 2,000 protesters in Denmark demonstrated outside U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen, some carrying placards which read “Stop Killing Black People.”

“Our Justice Department has made it clear that responsibility for his [Floyd's] death is being addressed through the legal system, both at the state and federal levels,” said a spokesman from the U.S. embassy in Denmark. "We will always stand by the rights for all people to peacefully demonstrate and to have their voices heard, but we will also oppose anyone who exploits this tragedy to loot, rob, attack and threaten.”

Thousands of people gathered outside the American Embassy in Berlin, some carrying signs with slogans including “Silence is Violence,” “Hold Cops Accountable,” and “Who Do You Call When Police Murder?”

In Italy, Massimo Gaggi, senior U.S. correspondent for the Corriere della Sera newspaper wrote: “There are exasperated black movements that no longer preach nonviolent resistance,” adding “anarchist and white supremacy groups are trying to fuel the chaos.''

Italians protested outside U.S. consulates in Milan and Rome, holding up signs which read: “Black Lives Matter,” “Justice for George Floyd,” and “basta uccidere persone nere” (stop killing black people). Wearing masks, some protesters pretended to choke and suffocate, mimicking the way Floyd died.

The president of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan offered his condolences to the family of George Floyd.

“I believe that the perpetrators of this inhumane act shall receive the punishment they deserve. We will be monitoring the issue,” Erdogan tweeted. “I remember with respect George Floyd and extend my condolences to his family and loved ones.”

Erdogan also condemned the Minneapolis police who arrested Floyd, calling their behavior "racist and fascist.”

"As a member of the Islamic civilization, which teaches us to love humankind because of the Creator, I condemn this inhumane mentality," Erdogan said. “A white man has no superiority over a black [man], nor does a black [man] have any superiority over a white [man].

China, already embroiled in a conflict with the U.S. over the covid-19 pandemic and Beijing’s new security law in Hong Kong, condemned the killing of Floyd.

Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry, simply tweeted the phrase “I can’t breathe” – a reference to what both Floyd and another black man, Eric Garner, said before they died at the hands of alleged excessive force by police in the U.S.

In a separate tweet, Hua posted an editorial from the Russian government-funded RT network, which criticized the U.S. for supporting protests in Hong Kong while condemning American rioters as "thugs."

The state-controlled Global Times newspaper of China wrote that “racial discrimination and social inequality in the U.S. have always been severe. Look at how many poor, ethnic minorities have died of the novel coronavirus.”

Curiously, the Global Times linked the unrest in the U.S. to the anti-Chinese protests in Hong Kong by claiming it was “as if the radical rioters in Hong Kong somehow snuck into the U.S. and created a mess.”

Another longtime adversary of the U.S., Iran condemned what it perceived as “racism” in the U.S.

"Some don't think Black Lives Matter," Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted. "To those of us who do: it is long overdue for the entire world to wage war against racism. Time for a world against racism."

Russia blamed the U.S. for its “systemic problems in the human rights sphere.''

“This incident is far from the first in a series of lawless conduct and unjustified violence from U.S. law enforcement,’’ said the Russian Foreign Ministry. “American police commit such high-profile crimes all too often.”

In India, while some prominent figures have condemned the killing of Floyd, some observers see rank hypocrisy in such vitriol.

Omar Abdullah, the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir (a region contested by India and Pakistan and where tens of thousands have been killed by Indian security forces) took Bollywood celebrities – including Priyanka Chopra and Kareena Kapoor -- to task for tweeting support for protesters in the U.S. while ignoring the Indian victims of state aggression.

“So much respect for all the celebrities tweeting ‘Black_Lives_Matter.’ It takes courage to bring your cowardice to the fore when you tweet for American lives but can't tweet for Indian lives,” Omar tweeted.

Paroma Soni saw hypocrisy in Indians condemning the U.S. police for killing Floyd, while mistreating African immigrants in India and blacks and others in general.

“The Indian reaction to George Floyd’s murder is tainted by hypocrisy and complicity,” she wrote. “It calls into question our community’s violent history with both anti-blackness and Western infatuation. My first instinct is to question why so many privileged Indians are quick to speak out about the murder of black people in America but are silent when it comes to the issues of communal and state violence against lower caste communities here.”

She added: “Both India and the Indian diaspora are steeped in a long history of anti-blackness. From African students being killed in New Delhi, to kids abrasively using the N-word and other racist slurs for “fun,” dark skin – often a marker of caste as well – has always been culturally disparaged.”

The chief of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat called Floyd’s death a “murder” and condemned the “continuing discriminatory practices against black citizens of the U.S.A.”

Tafi Mhaka, a social and political commentator based in Johannesburg, South Africa, wrote an op-ed in Al Jazeera declaring that violence committed against blacks by American police disqualified the U.S. from attacking other countries, especially Africa, for their alleged human rights violations.

“Whenever the specter of governmental injustice lords over Africa, America always makes its boisterous, unapologetic voice heard on a continent purportedly starved of human rights,” he wrote. “America is always proud to condemn the ‘brutal violence by cowardly and vicious armed groups’ and the ‘disproportionate use of force’ by security forces in Africa. In fact, a predictable stream of condescending diplomatic self-righteousness is certainly the lifeblood of America's ubiquitous presence in Africa's young and still-developing democracies.”

Mhaka expanded his criticism to all the other powerful western nations.

“The West does not really care about human rights, especially the human rights of African-Americans and Africans; it just cares about preaching about human rights and striding the world stage with hypocritical pride and a pompous air,” he added.

Even some U.S. embassies in Africa expressed their solidarity with Floyd.

The ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mike Hammer, promoted a tweet from a local entrepreneur who said to him: “Dear ambassador, your country is shameful. Proud America, which went through everything from segregation to the election of Barack Obama, still hasn’t conquered the demons of racism. How many black people must be killed by white police officers before authorities react seriously?”

Hammer responded: “I am profoundly troubled by the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The Justice Department is conducting a full criminal investigation as a top priority. Security forces around the world should be held accountable. No one is above the law.”