Bangkok - Some 300 Thais and foreigners in Thailand and elsewhere joined an online protest against racism on Sunday, adding their voices to global calls for justice for black American George Floyd who died in U.S. police custody in Minneapolis last month.
With coronavirus restrictions, protesters with 'I Can't Breathe' messages on their arms and placards gathered on the video-meeting platform Zoom to emphasize the call in Thailand as they watched the video clip of Floyd's last moments.
"I've lived in three continents now. I have best friends who are from the African community, who are also black Americans, and ... you see a stark contrast in how they are treated," said 28-year old Natalie Bin Narkprasert, one of the event organisers.
"Everyone has hopes, everyone has dreams, everyone bleeds red, you know," she said. "It's crazy that they still have this in 2020 when in 1963, that was when Martin Luther King did his freedom speech."
The group also observed 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence - the period that Floyd was filmed pinned under a white officer's knee - to know "how it feels", Natalie added.
Some said racist bias existed in Asia, although it might be more subtle, and that they hoped for gradual changes.
The death of Floyd has set off the biggest anti-racism protests seen in the United States in decades and sparked demonstrations worldwide.
A majority of city council members in Minneapolis have pledged to abolish the city's police department after the death of an unarmed black man in custody last month led to some of the biggest protests seen in the United States.
Huge weekend crowds gathered across the country, mostly peacefully. The near-festive tone was marred late on Sunday when a man drove a car into a rally in Seattle and then shot and wounded a demonstrator who confronted him.
The outpouring of protests followed the May 25 killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died after being pinned by the neck for nine minutes by a white officer's knee in Minneapolis. A bystander's cellphone captured the scene as Floyd pleaded with the officer, choking out the words "I can't breathe."