Inspired by riots across America that have led politicians to repudiate law enforcement, violent protesters are now attacking police around the globe. Protests reached a horrifying apex of violence Thursday in Mexico when, during a protest in Guadalajara, a police officer who took his eyes off demonstrators was set on fire in an incident caught on video. The protests took place over the death of Giovanni López, who died in May after an altercation with police, according to the U.K. Daily Mail. Although there were reports police had detained him for not wearing a face mask, officials said that was not true.
Video of Thursday’s protest shows a police officer getting on a motorcycle. Once his back was turned, he was splashed with some type of liquid by a rioter, who quickly set the officer on fire with what appeared to be a lighter. As the officer rolled on the street, police tried to help put out the fire while also battling protesters. The condition of the police officer could not be ascertained from media reports.
WARNING: The video below contains violent images that some views may find disturbing:
Mexican rioters also attacked the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City:
French protesters also took to the streets this week, claiming that the death of a man four years ago in police custody was an atrocity. A Paris demonstration on Tuesday included protesters holding signs that read, “Black Lives Matter,” according to NBC News. Police reported 18 people were arrested after what began as a protest turned violent, with many people taking part in acts of arson and vandalism.
British protests occurred in London, Manchester and Nottingham, claiming that U.K. police were guilty of racism and violence against black citizens.
“We’ve had enough. George Floyd is [one of] a long line of black males that have died at the hands of police. And the U.K. is not innocent, as I chanted at the marches I’ve attended, because there is a long history of police abuse here too,” protester Trey Campbell-Simon told The Guardian.
One commentator said there is a thread of anti-lockdown sentiment in the explosive protests.
“I think the public are less clear about whose interests are being protected now the lockdown is being eased,” Tim Newburn, a professor of criminology and public policy at the London School of Economics, told The Guardian.
“Add into the mix substantial social inequality in the impact of both the pandemic and the lockdown — and significant racial inequality in particular — and the dangers are clear. Missteps by the police and by other authorities now could have grave consequences for public order and public safety,” he said.
In Sydney, Australia, thousands marched, with some chanting, “No justice, no peace, no racist police,” according to The New York Times. Some commentators said that the protests were not only aimed at police, but at President Donald Trump.
“Part of it is about anti-Americanism, part of it is about the gross injustice,” Marcel Dirsus, a nonresident fellow at the Institute for Security Policy at Kiel University in Germany, told The Washington Post, referring to demonstrations in Berlin.
“But it’s also about Trump, who is so unpopular in Germany that it makes many people dislike America as a whole. I think a lot of people assumed that America had already hit rock bottom over the last couple of years, but then Trump proved them wrong in the way he is handling the pandemic and these protests.”
“It’s significant that Trumpism is part of a broader transnational movement,” Georgetown University political scientist Daniel Nexon said Monday during a webinar.
“U.S. political polarization is now aligned with politics elsewhere.”