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

By Brian Dillon

June 2, 2020 at 12:13pm

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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."

View this post on Instagram

Reposting this as the sun yesterday made it impossible to get a decent photo, and also it's more important than any other work I'm doing at the moment. . "Please, I can't breathe." . 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. . 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 was known to his close friends as “Big Floyd“. Big Floyd grew up in Houston, Texas, in Third Ward Cuney Homes. He was an all-around athlete growing up. He was the starting Tight End for Yates High School’s football team in 1992 when they went all the way to the State Championship. . Big Floyd was known throughout his community as a peacemaker, a minister, and someone to take advice from. He was a father and brother. He loved his family and wanted to provide a better future for them. . George Floyd moved to Minneapolis to get better working opportunities for himself and for his family. He started driving trucks in Minnesota and went on to also work at a restaurant in Minneapolis as a security guard. He was known in his new job as a hardworking and friendly employee. Everywhere he went he was the same caring and kind spirit. . George Floyd was a peace activist and respected community leader. He was far from his home in Houston when he was murdered in broad daylight by Minneapolis police." . Let this be the last time this happens. . #georgefloyd #icantbreathe #bigfloyd #blacklivesmatter

A post shared by Emmalene Blake / ESTR (@emmaleneblake) on

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.

READ NEXT: Blackout Tuesday - Why people are sharing black images to social media

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