“The peaceful protests that we see in the US… are understandable and more than legitimate. I hope that these peaceful protests won't slide further into violence, but even more than that I hope that they will make a difference in the United States,” Heiko Maas told reporters.
Floyd died last week after a white policeman in Minneapolis kneeled on the handcuffed man's neck for several minutes. The incident has sparked days of violent protests across the United States.
With journalists coming under attack by law enforcers at the protests, Maas also stressed that reporters “must be able to carry out their task — that is reporting — without fearing for their security”.
“Democratic countries must apply the highest standards in protecting press freedom. In this context, all violence must not only be criticised by also prosecuted and clarified so that journalists can be effectively protected while carrying out their work.”
Among members of the press who have come under attack is a correspondent of German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle.
DW said for two nights in a row, Stefan Simons was “shot at by US police while reporting on #BlackLivesMatter protests in Minneapolis”.
“Relating to the cases such as that involving DW, we will get in touch with US authorities to find out the exact circumstances,” Maas said.
Protests around Germany
People across Germany, including footballers, have been protesting against racism and police brutality in the US over the past days.
After scoring in his team's win at Paderborn on Sunday, Borussia Dortmund's English winger Jadon Sancho lifted his shirt to reveal the message “Justice for George Floyd”.
Throughout the weekend, there were a number of protests in Berlin, with one on Sunday through the neighbourhoods of Neukölln and Kreuzberg counting over 1,500 participants, the majority wearing face masks.
On Saturday, protesters had stood outside of the US embassy, baring signs reading “Justice for George Floyd” and “Stop killing us.”
— Arian El-Taher (@areltah) May 30, 2020
Just got back from the Black Lives Matter protest in Berlin. Very well attended, and the speeches had a depth of fury I have never heard before. This felt new.
— Musa Okwonga (@Okwonga) May 30, 2020
Over the weekend, street artists painted a new mural for Floyd at Berlin's Mauerpark, showing Floyd and his now-famous last words of “I can't breathe” as he died at the hands of police violence.
— I ♥ Berlin (@I_love_Berlin) May 31, 2020
As of Tuesday afternoon, #BlackLivesMatter was the most popular topic trending on Twitter in Germany, counting over 1.7 million posts.
Meanwhile, people have also been sharing ways of what can be done in Germany, including signing petitions and donating to George Floyd's family.
A reminder that in addition to going out on the streets (which some folks like me can't do safely right now), Black Lives Matter Berlin suggests a number of other monetary and non-$$ actions: https://t.co/GETKCBjABY
— jillian c. york (@jilliancyork) June 1, 2020
I agree with @IjeomaOluo and have some ideas for people in Germany
— Sharon Dodua Otoo (@SharonDoduaOtoo) May 30, 2020