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Thousands march in Europe in solidarity with U.S. protesters

Cities across the globe rallied with U.S.

London — Thousands of people marched through London on Sunday to support demonstrations across the United States in response to the Minneapolis death of George Floyd. Starting at Trafalgar Square and moving through the city to the U.S. Embassy, British demonstrators chanted slogans including "I can't breathe," and "Black Lives Matter."

"This is our respect to people in America who are suffering right now," Paige Adjarhore, 18, told CBS News. "We're too far away to go there and help them, but this is us showing that we support them. We're with you and we feel your pain," she said.

"What people don't understand is that when you're black, you're under attack," said Kieran Blackman, 28. "We have fought for equality, and it's not happening."

The demonstration was in violation of U.K. lockdown rules to stop the spread of the coronavirus, which forbid large gatherings. The police, however, did not disperse the crowds.

George Floyd's death prompts huge protest in London

"People are killing black people all over the world, not just in America. We're just asking to be heard," Blackman said.

Protests have erupted throughout the U.S., with some turning violent, over the death of Floyd, who was captured on video pleading for air as a police officer knelt on his neck while he was handcuffed. Four Minneapolis officers have been fired and one, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. 

Other European countries held protests in solidarity as well over the weekend, with demonstrators converging on the U.S. embassy in Denmark carrying signs bearing messages like, "Stop killing black people," the Associated Press reported. 

In Germany, hundreds took to the streets carrying signs saying, "Who Do You Call When Police Murder?" and "Silence is Violence," the AP reported. A small protest in London on Saturday saw about a hundred people chant, "Stop killing us."

Protest in front of the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen
Protesters gather during a 'Black Lives Matter' demonstration against the death in Minneapolis police custody of African-American man George Floyd, in front of the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark May 31, 2020.  Ritzau Scanpix/Ida Guldbaek Arentsen via REUTERS

U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab declined to comment on unrest in the United States, calling the footage of a police office with his knee on Floyd's neck "very distressing."

Five demonstrators were arrested, according to the police: Three for violating coronavirus lockdown rules and two for assaulting officers.

"It makes me upset because there should be justice everywhere. We're human beings at the end of the day, and we're just not given a fair share, fair shot, or fair crack," one protesters, who declined to give his name, told CBS News. To the demonstrators in the United States, he said, "We stand by you. Keep it going. Keep it up. Black lives matter."

"Racism is the real pandemic in the world," Adjarhore said. "It's not COVID-19, it's racism."

Further protests were planned for the coming week in London. 

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