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02nd Jun 2020

Varadkar speaks following George Floyd demonstration: “racism is a virus”

Brian Dillon

Varadkar speaks following George Floyd demonstration: "racism is a virus"

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has spoken out following the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter demonstration that took place in Dublin yesterday.

Thousands of people marched from O’Connell Street to the US Embassy in Ballsbridge chanting “Black Lives Matter”.

Taking to Twitter last night, Varadkar wrote, “Racism is a virus that we have been fighting for millennia. Despite the progress we have made, it is no less virulent today and no less dangerous. We need to show solidarity as people of all races & backgrounds around the world come together to stop its spread and defeat it.”

Yesterday, Dublin artist Emmalene Blake revealed a George Floyd mural in honour of his death. Taking to Instagram, she said:

“The video of a police officer kneeling on George Floyd’s neck until he loses consciousness is one of the most upsetting and disturbing things I’ve ever seen.”

She adds, “Teach kids about racism, intolerance and privilege. Teach them to recognise their privilege – white privilege, class privilege, straight privilege, cis privilege, male privilege – and teach them to be allies. Teach them to not just not be racist or discriminatory, but to always stand up to racism and discrimination. Teach them to do better than all of the generations that came before them.”

George Floyd died in Minneapolis last Monday after being held down by police officer Derek Chauvin for eight minutes. Chauvin has since been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for Floyd’s death.

The death of the 46-year-old has sparked much conversation about racism both in the US and in Ireland, leading to yesterday’s demonstration.

As well as attending protests, people in Ireland have been donating to anti-racism charities and causes and signing petitions. Find out more here.

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