Ten Days That Shook the World

In the ten days since George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, an anti-racist uprising has spread across the United States. Across the world, people are taking action in solidarity and mobilising against state racism.

25 MAY – George Floyd is murdered by a white police officer in Minneapolis. The cop held his knee on George’s neck for ten minutes. His name was added to those of Ahmaud Arbery, Sean Reed, Tony McDade and Breonna Taylor. He said: ‘I can’t breathe.’ 

26 MAY – The video goes viral and the four cops involved in the murder are fired. That night, thousands of people take to the streets of Minneapolis. They are met with tear gas and rubber bullets as they march towards the police precinct.

27 MAY – The Minneapolis uprising breaks through nationally. Mass demonstrations shake Los Angeles and Memphis. Local 1005 of the Amalgamated Transit Union refuses to transport arrested protestors.

28 MAY – The 3rd Police Precinct in Minneapolis is stormed and set aflame by rebels, marking the first time in decades that a police station has been destroyed or even taken by protesters. National Nurses United releases a statement in solidarity with the rebellion. The University of Minnesota cuts commercial and research arrangements with the police.

29 MAY – Brooklyn’s 88th Police Precinct is overrun by New York City protestors and another, the 84th, set under siege. Transport Workers Union Local 100 tweets it does not work for the New York Police Department. Chauvin is charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Minneapolis residents commander a hotel and start using it to provide shelter to 200 homeless people.

30 MAY – Protests in Washington D.C. explode, as protestors break White House security barricades and clash with police and the secret service. 

Hundreds of Palestinians and Israelis march in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem demanding justice for George Floyd and Iyad al-Hallaq, a Palestinian man with learning disabilities who was murdered by cops in Jerusalem who claim they thought he was a ‘terrorist’.

31 MAY – Before the week is over, the uprising goes global. Solidarity demonstrations flare up as tens of thousands take to the streets in Mexico, Brazil, Britain, France, Germany, Denmark, Italy, Ireland, New Zealand, Poland and Canada. In Brazil, these are the first major outdoor anti-government protests after months of horrific mismanagement of the pandemic by the far-right government of Jair Bolsonaro.

In London, thousands of people take a knee in Trafalgar Square and then march to the US embassy where they are met with TSG police who made dozens of arrests. The demonstration ended at Grenfell Tower, the site of the 2017 fire that killed at least 72 people.

1 JUNE – 15,000 high school students in Oakland self-organise a mass march. The self-activity of students becomes a new reserve of militancy for the movement and its continued momentum. Confederate statues start to be removed across the South. Donald Trump calls for the armed forces, national guard and police to dominate the streets held by protesters. In Louisville, Kentucky, David McAtee is killed by Metro Police and the National Guard. The Minneapolis public school system ends its contract with the police to provide security in schools.

2 JUNE – In Minneapolis, 12,000 students take to the streets. Divisions in the ruling class begin to widen as Minnesota state authorities open civil rights charges against the Minneapolis Police Department. ATU Local 85 (Pittsburgh) becomes the latest union to announce its refusal to help police transport detained protesters.

Tens of thousands of people defy the ban on mass gatherings to protest in Paris, only two days after thousands of undocumented migrants had demonstrated against the racist immigration system. The protestors demand justice for Adama Traoré who was killed by cops in 2016. 

3 JUNE – Port Authority workers in Pittsburgh refuse to transport police on buses. Reports emerge of GIs refusing to deploy to US cities. The governor of Virginia establishes plans to remove the state’s Confederate statue of Robert E. Lee.

As George Floyd’s family awaits first-degree murder charges for Chauvin, his charge is upgraded to second degree murder as the rest of the officers are charged with aiding and abetting.

Despite curfews being imposed, people do not leave the streets.

The movement translates across borders as thousands demonstrate in cities across Europe. Molotov cocktails are thrown at the US embassy in Athens. More actions are held across Britain.

If you’re heading to a protest, remember to take steps to keep you and those around you safe from Covid-19:

  • Avoid public transport
  • Wear a face mask and keep it on when you’re talking
  • Keep a safe 2m distance from other people
  • Do not hand things to other protestors or take things from them
  • Take a shower and wash your clothes when you get home
  • Avoid contact with other people for two weeks after protesting, especially vulnerable or elderly people
  • DO NOT go to a protest if you have a cough or fever or any other symptoms
  • DO NOT go to a protest if you are in a high-risk group for Covid-19 and need to be shielding

1 COMMENT

  1. As the crust of capitalism cracks under pressure from the molten centre of the globe of humanity, Alfredo Saad-Fihlo said at a Conter zoom meeting last night that this moment, or an unexpected moment soon to come in the context of the pandemic, was likely to be our last. If we miss that chance, he thinks, we will be faced with human extinction. He reminded us that we will not know the moment until it comes, that it will be spontaneous, and that when it comes we must surrender to it, join it, relinquish control. In the meantime we just need to continue to speak of and disseminate our insights and visions about what needs to change in society, and that we are confident that together we will be able to change it.

    The BBC news this morning:

    1. Devi Sridhar blows the whistle to reveal a 2018 planning exercise for a coronavirus outbreak in Scotland, the results of which were not made public.
    2. The tracing ap, much flaunted by the UK Government, and in line with their strategic support for privately owned technical solutions to everything, won’t be ready until “the autumn”, three months after they’ve relaxed lockdown.
    3. Brazil becomes the third in line, after the US and the UK, for number of Covid-19 deaths, with Italy in fourth place – a striking demonstration of the enormous dangers for the working class of what Saad-Filho calls the Authoritative Turn in Neoliberalism.

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