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Powerful scenes as Italy's capital cities unite for George Floyd protests

Italy joins over 50 countries that are rising up against racism and police brutality in respect of the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.


Italian protesters took to the capital, names including Bologna, Milan, Rome, Bergamo and Florence to show their solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.



Bologna

Citizens in Bologna gathered on their knees in Maggiore square for a flash mob against all forms of racism and in memory of each individual victim.


Many of whom that participated in the event, filmed the flash mob and uploaded videos onto Facebook capturing the statement 'Say Their Name'. Chants of Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and Ahmaud Arbery were also made throughout the crowd.


Milan

Thousands of people gathered outside Milan Central Station and among the demonstrators were many Italian students of African origin. One lady said, "We feel Milanese like all of you, we are black Italians, all equal".



Many protesters pointed out racism in politics, on stage a protester said "Racism is a pollutant that also lies in Italian laws: from Bossi-Fini to Security decrees", while another mentioned there are those who "built an entire political career on the racial hatred."


At the march, there were a display of names of victims who were "killed by structural racism in Italy". From Ahmed Ali Giama, burned alive in 1979 while sleeping on the streets of Rome, to Abba Abdul Guiebre, who was killed in a bar in Milan because he was accused of stealing a packet of biscuits in Via Zuretti.


Rome

Three thousand people in Rome carried out a sit-in, organised by Sardine, alongside associations and Americans living in the capital. The sit-in was for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the same time George Floyd was crushed to death by the Minneapolis police's knee.



"Today we are three thousand protesting against racism" said organisers. The message of justice expressed in United States reached Rome, in Piazza del Popolo, where peaceful demonstrations against racism was held from 11am to 1pm.


Having maintained social distancing, protesters were spaced out and wearing masks whilst marching with colourful signs reading "No justice, no peace", "I can't breath", "Defund the police" and "f***k racism".


Banners and choirs took part in a two hours of sit-ins, together with speeches by African Americans living in Rome, FridaysForFuture and Sardine.


Piazza del Popolo is also the home to high school students from Rome and Lazio: "We are here" said Luca Ianniello of the Network of Middle Students. He added, "This is the time to think about racism in Europe and in Italy. Because it exists, it exists, even if it is different. And we must realize it."



Bergamo

A flash mob in Piazza Matteotti was formed, as peaceful protesters dedicated five minutes of silence to commemorate the loss of George Floyd.


Having witness similar anti-racism protests organised in Rome, Milan and in all of Italy's main cities, the slogan "Black Lives Matter" was also replicated in Bergamo.


Florence

700 people took part in demonstrations in Florence, near the US consulate, along the Arno river. Among demonstrators were family members of people who died during police checks similar to George Floyd died.



Family of Tunisian Arafet Arfaoui attended the march, who died at 31 years of age in January 16 last year, while he was stopped in Empoli by the policemen in a money transfer shop.


The PD group leader Nicola Armentano and the councilor PD Donata Bianchi of Palazzo Vecchio, mentioned they share the request for justice and the commitment against all forms of racism, violence and discrimination.



" 'I can't breathe', 'I can't breathe', these were the last words of George Floyd, words that dramatically remind us of those affected by Covid-19 and admitted to intensive care, they remind us of those shouted by victims of shipwrecks in the Mediterranean," they said.

George Floyd's death has caused an overwhelming sense on all people across the world. Although Floyd's death occurred in United States, this has sparked global change as some governments and authorities are having discussions and taking action to deal with their own systemic racism.

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