LONDON - The police killing of Black man George Floyd in Minneapolis last year triggered Black Lives Matter protests around the world. The murder conviction rendered Tuesday against former police officer Derek Chauvin has been welcomed in many countries, as millions of people followed events in the Minneapolis court room.
Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, called it a momentous verdict. “It is also a testament to the courage and perseverance of George Floyd’s family and many others in calling for justice. As the jury recognized, the evidence in this case was crystal clear. Any other result would have been a travesty of justice.
“But for countless other victims of African descent and their families, in the United States and throughout the world, the fight for justice goes on," Bachelet said in a televised statement Wednesday. "The battle to get cases of excessive force or killings by police before the courts, let alone win them, is far from over.”
In Britain’s parliament, Prime Minister Boris Johnson also welcomed the verdict.
“Last night's verdict in Minneapolis delivered justice for the family and friends of George Floyd. And I know that the thoughts of the whole house remain with them,” said Johnson.
British activist and poet Lawrence Hoo helped to organize Black Lives Matter demonstrations in Bristol, England, in the days following Floyd’s murder at 46 years of age on May 25 of last year. “I don't feel there's anything to celebrate at the moment, it just feels that it took a worldwide campaign and cities to burn, just for justice to be served," Hoo said Wednesday. "It feels numb a bit today because there is so much excitement about a decision that should have just been the decision.”
The French government acknowledged the global significance of the conviction. “The terrible tragedy that befell Mr. Floyd provoked an emotion well beyond the borders of the United States and so it's obvious that this court decision resonates beyond the borders of the United States. And that's what I want to say and salute this morning,” French government spokesperson Gabriel Attal told reporters in Paris Wednesday.
In South Africa, residents of Johannesburg told VOA they welcomed the guilty verdict against Chauvin.
“Justice was served,” said 19-year-old medical student Thomas de Beer. “But I don’t think it’s the right way of doing it, in that there should be different ways in which we can prevent it from happening in the future.”
Thirty-five-year-old Johannesburg resident Yusuf Areington Kathrada also welcomed the guilty verdict. “I feel happy that justice has been served. I think this goes to anyone in any part of the world, in any land.”
Justice was served first and foremost for Floyd’s family — but also for many people around the world who share their pain and anger.