Dressed in black, wearing masks and holding candles, the assembled crowd of mostly young people paid tribute to George Floyd, the African-American man who was killed on May 25 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, allegedly by a police officer.
U.S. citizens, Mexicans and other foreigners expressed their solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and added their voices to protests that have occurred in all 50 U.S. states and in major cities around the world.
“We are here to remember the black lives that have been killed by the police in the United States where racism is an integral part of its systems and institutions,” said one of those attending the vigil.
“Your fight is my fight #BlackLivesMatter,” “Racism kills. I can’t breathe” and “Justice for George Floyd” read some of the signs hoisted by the crowd.
Participants constructed an altar decorated with candles honoring Floyd on one of the concrete benches outside the embassy. Using chalk they drew a portrait of Floyd and affixed a banner to the bench reading, “I can’t breathe,” Floyd’s last words as he lay in the street dying.
“I am fed up, and we are fed up with 500 years of oppression, violence and invisibility against us, we are fed up with the systematic murders of people,” said Ebony Bailey, an African American filmmaker from California who is studying in Mexico.
The issue of racial equality in Mexico also came up. At least one protester carried a sign reading “Justice for Giovanni” in reference to Giovanni López, who died after being arrested by police in Jalisco on May 4, apparently for not wearing a face mask.
“Just like our oppressions, our struggles are also linked. The anti-racist struggle in the United States is the same as that of Mexico and other parts of the world, the struggle of indigenous peoples is the same as that of blacks,” Bailey added.
Near the end of the vigil, the crowd took a knee in remembrance of Floyd for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the length of time a Minneapolis police officer knelt on Floyd’s neck until he was dead, despite the man’s protests that he could not breathe. They also read aloud the names of scores of black American victims of police brutality
The vigil occurred the same day as an emotional memorial service was held for Floyd in Minneapolis while the United States reels from a wave of violent protests and civil unrest.