About 300 people participated in peaceful Black Lives Matter protests in Prague on Saturday, joining counterparts in both the United States and other locations around the world.
The largest group of protesters congregated in Old Town Square on Saturday afternoon. Most of the attendees were between the ages of 18 – 35, and spoke English during the event.
After two hours, the protesters marched across Prague’s Charles Bridge and up to the Embassy of the United States of America in Prague. The protest ended outside of the U.S. Embassy at around 19:00, and no incidents were reported.
Organizers stressed that no rioting or violence of any kind would be accepted during the event.
Demonstrators carried signs reading “Black Lives Matters”, “I can’t breathe,” and other anti-racist and anti-police brutality messages.
Short speeches were given in Prague’s Old Town Square, and Americans (including African-Americans) living in Prague stated that they do face similar brands of racism in the Czech Republic.
Speakers read aloud the names of victims of police brutality in the United States, and protesters knelt while the names were read in their honor.
Hundreds of protesters laid down across Prague’s Old Town Square for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time George Floyd was pinned to the ground until he died, in his memory.
An earlier demonstration outside of the U.S. Embassy in Prague had been cancelled; the event at Old Town Square arose spontaneously afterwards.
Prague police monitored the entire protest, and walked alongside protesters as they marched to the U.S. Embassy. As the appropriate permit was obtained, police stated that the event had been authorized.
The Prague event follows protests in the U.S. and around the globe over the past two weeks in the wake of the murder of African-American George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25.
Police officer Derek Chauvin pinned Floyd to the ground by his neck for eight minutes until his death. The incident was recorded by witnesses.
Similar protests have been held in London, Berlin and elsewhere over the past week.
Despite ongoing anti-coronavirus measures throughout Europe, protesters are expected to convene in Warsaw, Lisbon, Paris, London and elsewhere over the coming week.