A young woman leads the chant of “Black lives matter; I can’t breathe!” outside the US embassy in Limpertsberg on Friday 5 May.
Photo: Duncan Roberts
Over a thousand people turned up for a demonstration outside the US embassy on Friday afternoon.
Organised by Lëtz Rise Up, the demonstration was called to show support for the protestors who have been taking to the streets in cities across the United States following the killing by police officers of George Floyd in Minneapolis on 25 May.
Though scheduled for 2pm, hundreds of demonstrators had already gathered outside the embassy by 1.45pm. Around a dozen police officers stood in front of the embassy, which was separated from the swelling crowd by barriers that blocked off the street directly in front of the compound, which also houses the residence of ambassador Randy Evans. Police patrol cars had also blocked the street to traffic and a police helicopter circled overhead.
Sporadic chants of “No justice, no peace!” and “Black lives matter; I can’t breathe!” peppered the air. Intermittently, the protestors would crouch to take a knee, then a roar went up as they rose from that position, which had become synonymous with the Black Lives Matter movement--especially since the banning from the NFL of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
The crowd was a diverse mix of age and race. All were masked but maintaining social distancing was impossible given the large numbers and the confined space opposite the embassy. One student, 17-year old Yasmina, told Delano that she had come with a group of friends because they had been moved by the news report of Floyd’s death and angered by the reaction of police and politicians in the United States to the protests that followed. “At school we have friends who are black and white, with Luxembourgish, Portuguese, French, Italian origins,” she said.
Paul, a 43-year Luxembourger, said he had chosen to attend in protest against what he said was institutional racism in the United States. He has demonstrated against the United States before, during the 2003 march against the invasion of Iraq in February 2003. “Some of the pictures I have seen from America this week have shocked me,” he said. “I am happy to see so many young people here today.”
Following the demonstration, US ambassador Randy Evans issued a statement. “I heard you and I thank you for the peaceful protest so others could hear you as well. We, as Americans, must and will continue our efforts individually and as a nation to work toward a more perfect union, fulfilling the sacred commitments we have made to each other in our Constitution equally, fully, and completely.”