Thousands turn out for Vienna Black Lives Matter protest

VIENNA: Thousands of people attended a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Vienna on Thursday (Jun 4), one of a wave of global anti-racism protests sparked by the death of African American George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer.

Speakers addressed the mostly young crowd of protesters before they took part in a short march ending in the central Karlsplatz park.

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The Vienna police department said the protest was well-attended, with at least 10,000 people present.

Several demonstrators said it was one of the largest protests Vienna had seen in years.

"Systematic racism is everywhere in the world, also in Austria. We have to stop it," 21-year-old student Katharina Kohl told AFP, while holding a sign reading: "Hate is not an opinion."

Large parts of the crowd gathered close together, not complying with current social distancing measures aimed at stemming the novel coronavirus, but many of the demonstrators did wear face masks.

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The United States has seen more than a week of nationwide protests over Floyd's death, captured in a shocking video showing white officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes as he pleaded for his life.

READ: Memorial for George Floyd set for Thursday after days of protest, rage

The wave of civil unrest has been unlike any seen in the US since the 1968 assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Many across the world have seen parallels with systemic racism in their own societies and have organised protests in solidarity, including in numerous European capitals.

Controversy over police brutality is rare in Austria but last year an investigatioRead More – Source