A world of George Floyds

A world of George Floyds

Nationwide protests in the US over the police killing of George Floyd have inspired solidarity demonstrations around the world. But in some countries, people are also on the streets to protest discriminatory policing and broader racial injustice in their own countries. Here's a look at a few protests in just the past few days, including in a couple of countries where racial tensions don't always make the global news.

Brazil: Protesters in Rio de Janeiro were out in force this weekend to call attention to a long history of police violence and discrimination. Rio, where powerful gangs control large swathes of the city's impoverished favelas, has long been an exceptionally violent place, and the police there are known to treat local residents with a heavy hand. In 2019, cops gunned down a record 1,800 people in Rio (police in the entire United States kill roughly 1,000 people per year.) The overwhelming majority of those killed by the Rio police are black. Of the roughly 9,000 people killed by Rio police over the past decade, three quarters of them were black men, according to Human Rights Watch. Just last month, an unarmed black teenager was shot during a police raid. Hanging over all of this is the still unresolved murder of city councilwoman Marielle Franco, an outspoken police critic, who was assassinated in 2018.

Japan: Non-Japanese minorities make up less than five percent of the population in Japan, where the country's relative ethnic homogeneity has been a source of both pride, controversy, and debate in recent years. This Saturday, several hundred people were out on the streets of Tokyo to express solidarity with the Floyd protests, but also to highlight police discrimination in their own city, spurred on by the case of a 33-year old ethnic Kurd from Turkey who was thrown to the ground and manhandled by police after he refused to let them search his car. A bystander caught the incident on video. Recent police reforms in Japan have sought to address a long history of abusive interrogation practices, but a focus on race and policing is relatively new in the country.

Israel: Solidarity protestors in Israel took aim at racial discrimination in their own society this weekend. A main focus of the demonstrations was systemic discrimination against Israel's black population. Protestors chanted the name of Solomon Tekah, an unarmed Ethiopian Jewish teenager killed last year by an off duty police officer. Tekah's death sparked several days of protests last summer and threw a harsh light on the discrimination suffered by the country's sizable Ethiopian minority, which first arrived in large numbers via a massive airlifts out of Ethiopia in the mid 1980's.

Portugal: Thousands of protesters in Lisbon and other large cities demanded justice in the case of Claudia Simões, a 42-year old black woman originally from the former Portuguese colony of Angola, who said she was severely beaten by police earlier this year after a bus operator accused her of having assaulted him. Racial tensions surrounding the police are not new in Portugal. Last January, protests erupted after a viral video showed police abusing residents of the predominantly black Bairro da Jamaica suburb of Lisbon. Several months later, eight officers were convicted of kidnapping and beating six black youths near the capital city in 2015.

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Iran has vowed to avenge Sunday's attack on its Natanz nuclear facility. Tehran blames Israel, which — as in the past — has neither confirmed nor denied it was responsible. And all this happens just days after indirect talks on US plans to rejoin the 2015 Iran nuclear deal resumed in Vienna. What the Iranians do now will determine the immediate future of those negotiations, a Biden administration priority.

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750 million: While struggling with one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the world right now, India has approved Russia's Sputnik V COVID vaccine. Moscow has a deal in place to produce 750 million doses of the shot in India.

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In recent weeks, both Pfizer and Moderna have announced early phases of vaccine trials in children, and Johnson & Johnson also plans to start soon. If you know a kid who wants to learn about vaccines, how they work, why we need them, this story is just what the doctor ordered.

Watch the episode: Vaccine nationalism could prolong the pandemic

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi everybody. Ian Bremmer here. Welcome to your week and I've got your Quick Take and thought I would talk a little bit about where we are with Iran. One of the Biden administration's promises upon election was to get the Americans back into the JCPOA, the Iranian nuclear deal. As of last week, negotiations are formally restarted, and pretty quickly, in Vienna, they're not direct. The Americans and Iranians are both there, but they're being intermediated by the Europeans because they're not yet ready to show that they can talk directly to each other. That's Iran being cautious in the run-up to their presidential election coming this summer. But the movement is there. So far the talk has largely been about sequencing the Iranian government, saying that all of the sanctions need to be removed before they're willing to go back into the deal, because the Americans after all, unilaterally withdrew from a deal that the Iranians were indeed adhering to, and the inspections did confirm that.

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Ukraine is once again in a tough spot.

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Andean aftermath: Two big weekend elections in South America produced two stunning results. In Ecuador's presidential runoff, the center-right former banker Guillermo Lasso upset early frontrunner Andrés Arauz, a leftist handpicked by former president Rafael Correa. Lasso will take power amid the social and economic devastation of the pandemic and will have to reckon with the rising political power of Ecuador's indigenous population: the Pachakutik party, which focuses on environmental issues and indigenous rights, is now the second-largest party in parliament. Meanwhile, in a big surprise next door in Perú, far-left union leader Pedro Castillo tallied up the most votes in the first round of that country's highly fragmented presidential election. As of Monday evening it's not clear whom he'll face in the June runoff, but three figures are in the running as votes are counted: prominent neoliberal economist Hernando De Soto, rightwing businessman Rafael López Aliaga, and conservative Keiko Fujimori, daughter of the country's imprisoned former strongman. Meanwhile, in the congressional ballot, at least 10 parties reached the threshold to win seats, but there is no clear majority or obvious coalition in sight.

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A controversial new World Health Organization report on the origins of the coronavirus that suggests it likely originated from a bat but transferred to humans via an intermediary animal. Could the virus have emerged from a Chinese lab, as former CDC Director Robert Redfield recently suggested? That's the least likely scenario, says the WHO's chief scientist, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan. "The betacoronaviruses are very, very common in bats and there's a lot of genetic similarity between the SARS-CoV2 and many of the viruses in the...bat species," Dr. Swaminathan told Ian Bremmer in an interview on GZERO World, airing on US public television stations starting April 9. Check local listings.

Watch the episode: Vaccine nationalism could prolong the pandemic

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