Outrage over US racism resonates in Africa: Gambians want to kneel with black Americans, Zimbabweans are tackling the Trump administration, and South Africa is reflecting on its own police brutality.


“We stand with our kith and kin in America in these difficult and trying times, and we hope that the unfortunate and tragic death of George Floyd will inspire a lasting change in how America confronts head-on the problems of hate and racism,” President Nana Akufo-Addo said.

People born in Ghana make up one of the biggest groups of Africans in the US.

“Ghana’s first president, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, said, ‘Freedom is not something that one people can bestow on another as a gift. They claim it as their own and none can keep it from them’ #BLM,” the Addison sisters who run a chocolate company in Accra tweeted.

Read more: African Americans face deadly endemic police violence in US

The Gambia

Human rights activists are organizing a protest outside the US Embassy in the capital, Banjul, to take place next week. Alieu Bah plans to be among the hundreds who will take a knee in silence.

“I’m participating to extend solidarity and to make all understand that we are all in the same struggle. Blackness is our common denominator. We must all come together to fight for a better world for all of us,” Bah told DW.

The government of the Gambia is seeking clarity over the shooting of a Gambian citizen in Atlanta, Georgia, after a car chase with police. The victim has been named as Momodou Lamin Sisay, the son of a Gambian diplomat.

Sisay is alleged to have opened fire on police before he was shot. A police officer involved in his death is reportedly under investigation.

The strict COVID-19 lockdowns across Africa make venturing out to stage solidarity protests illegal.


The usually outspoken President Yoweri Museveni has not commented on the developments in the US, but citizens of the East African country have generously shared their views and condolences on the death of George Floyd. Eight-year-old musician Felista made a special tribute.

“I believe the protests are justified but the violence is too much. Burning police cars, attacking policemen and beating them up — I don’t believe in that. The protests should continue, the violence should stop,” Lubowa Francis told DW.

A Kampala resident expressed support for the US protest saying: “I think discrimination against the black race has been going on for such a long time and that’s why you see that protesters have been joined by whites. I think discrimination against black Americans should be condemned.”


A row between the southern African country and the United States erupted after President Donald Trump’s national security advisor Robert O’Brien accused Zimbabwe, along with China, of using social media to stoke unrest in the US.

The government of Zimbabwe rejected the allegation, which came as US Ambassador Brian A. Nicols criticized not only the US but Zimbabwe too in a statement on George Floyd.

“Both America’s and Zimbabwe’s constitutions enshrine the right to free speech and peaceful protest… Yet, peaceful protesters Joanna Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri, and Netsai Marova were arrested abducted,” he wrote. The US diplomat also called for justice for three government critics who disappeared under the Mugabe regime.

“Essentially, we hope it is a storm in a teacup,” political analyst Takura Zhangazha told DW. “There is no way practically speaking Zimbabwe would have been involved in either influencing or accelerating any social media commentary on the riots against police brutality and racial oppression in the United States.”

Zimbabwe is subject to US sanctions.

Read more: Zimbabwe sanctions: The government and the West play the blame game

South Africa

Citizens and politicians of the country where racism was once legislated and violently enforced have condemned the latest salvo of police brutality in the US.

The killing of George Floyd also sparked a wider public debate over the killing of citizens by police and soldiers during the COVID-19 lockdown.

In reply to a tweet by Julius Malema, the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters, one of his followers asked: “Our leaders are so quick to pledge their support to foreign countries when we have problems at our doorstep and those foreign countries aren’t so vocal about our domestic issues!”

Petrus Miggels died after he was assaulted by police on the day South Africa’s COVID-19 lockdown came into effect. Collins Khosa was allegedly beaten to death by soldiers in Johannesburg in the days that followed. Several other citizens in the country and elsewhere across Africa have since suffered similar fates.

Omar Wally (in Banjul), Alex Gitta (in Kampala) and Privilege Musvanhiri (in Harare) contributed to this report.

  • A protester faces police when Black Lives Matter protesters clash with NYPD officers

    In pictures: US protests over George Floyd, police killings rage in dozens of cities

    ‘I can’t breathe’

    Tense protests over decades of police brutality against black people have quickly spread from Minneapolis to cities across the US. The protests began in the Midwestern city earlier this week, after a police officer handcuffed and pressed a knee on the neck of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, until he stopped breathing and died.

  •  mural of George Floyd painted by the artist eme_freethinker on a wall at Mauerpark in Berlin

    In pictures: US protests over George Floyd, police killings rage in dozens of cities

    A ‘gentle giant’

    Floyd grew up in Houston, Texas, and moved to Minneapolis in 2014 for work. Before his death, he was looking for work after having been laid off from his job as a security guard at a Latin bistro due to Minnesota’s stay-at-home coronavirus restrictions. Standing 6 feet, 6 inches (1.98 meters) tall, his friends described him as a “gentle giant.”

  • A man pleads with officers as crowds protesting the killing of G. Floyd clash with police in the blocks just north of the White House

    In pictures: US protests over George Floyd, police killings rage in dozens of cities

    From peaceful to violent

    Protests were mostly peaceful on Saturday, though some became violent as the night wore on. In Washington, D.C., the National Guard was deployed outside the White House. At least one person died in shootings in downtown Indianapolis; police said no officers were involved. Officers were injured in Philadelphia, while in New York two NYPD vehicles lurched into a crowd, knocking people to the ground.

  • A man carries a large chain out of the jewelry store Realm of the Goddess on Melrose Avenue after the front window was smashed in

    In pictures: US protests over George Floyd, police killings rage in dozens of cities

    Shops destroyed, looted

    In Los Angeles, protesters faced off with officers with shouts of “Black Lives Matter!” as police confronted crowds with batons and rubber bullets. In some cities including LA, Atlanta, New York, Chicago and Minneapolis, protests have turned into riots, with people looting and destroying local shops and businesses.

  • A man plays guitar next to a graffiti sign with When the Looting Starts the Shooting Starts

    In pictures: US protests over George Floyd, police killings rage in dozens of cities

    ‘When the looting starts…’

    President Donald Trump has threatened to send in the military to quell the protests, saying his “administration will stop mob violence and will stop it cold.” Trump’s response has inflamed tensions across the country. He blamed the rioting on alleged far-left groups, but Minnesota Governor Tim Walz told reporters he had heard multiple unconfirmed reports of white supremacists stoking the violence.

  • Demonstrators protest the killing of George Floyd outside of the city's 5th police precinct

    In pictures: US protests over George Floyd, police killings rage in dozens of cities

    Media in the crosshairs

    Many journalists covering the protests have found themselves targeted by law enforcement. On Friday, CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez and his crew were arrested while covering the story in Minneapolis, and several reporters have been hit with projectiles or detained while on air. DW’s Stefan Simons was fired at by police twice as he reported on the unrest over the weekend.

  • Anti-racism protests at US Embassy in Berlin / Tod von George Floyd (picture-alliance/dpa/C. Soeder)

    In pictures: US protests over George Floyd, police killings rage in dozens of cities

    Going global

    North of the US border, in Canada, thousands of protesters took to the streets in Vancouver and Toronto. In Berlin, American expats and other demonstrators gathered outside the US Embassy. In London, protesters kneeled in Trafalgar Square before marching past the Houses of Parliament and stopping at the British capital’s US Embassy.

  • Protesters hold their hands up in front of law enforcement personnel as demonstrators rally at the White House

    In pictures: US protests over George Floyd, police killings rage in dozens of cities

    At Trump’s front door

    Protests raged in the US capital, Washington, after the district began its 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew on Sunday. More than 1,000 demonstrators gathered in Lafayette Park, across from the White House, with some lighting fires outside the president’s residence.The New York Timesreported that Secret Service had brought Trump into a bunker as a safety precaution.

  •  law enforcement officer takes position as a building burns

    In pictures: US protests over George Floyd, police killings rage in dozens of cities

    Curfews in major US cities

    Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Detroit, Washington D.C. and other US cities extended curfews as protests entered a sixth night on Sunday. The state of Arizona in the west instituted a statewide, weeklong curfew after demonstrators clashed with police. Around 5,000 troops from the National Guard also have been deployed in 15 US states.

  • Trump holds a Bible up outside a church by the White House (Reuters/T. Brenner)

    In pictures: US protests over George Floyd, police killings rage in dozens of cities

    Trump threatens to bring in US military

    In the face of renewed protests on Monday, Trump threatened to deploy the military if states failed to “defend their residents.” As he made his remarks, security authorities used tear gas and rubber bullets to force protesters from nearby Lafayette Park. Trump then walked from his residence to a church in the park, where he held a Bible aloft during a photo opportunity.

  • Protesters lay on the ground with their hands behind their back

    In pictures: US protests over George Floyd, police killings rage in dozens of cities

    Peaceful demonstrations

    Many protests in the US have remained peaceful, with groups of demonstrators standing together against police brutality. In Manhattan’s Times Square on Monday, protesters lay on the ground with their hands behind their back, mimicking the position Floyd was in when he was killed. Though some people have resorted to violence, several US mayors and governors have praised the protests.

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