A world of George Floyds, one year later

A world of George Floyds, one year later

A year ago, the police murder of George Floyd galvanized a new generation of protest and advocacy for racial justice and police reform in the United States. But it also energized activists in other countries, who for decades had been waging their own fights for social and racial justice.

Here we take a look at three places where the Floyd rallies struck a chord and ask: what's happened in the year since?


Brazil: When the George Floyd protests erupted in the US, many in Brazil were still reeling from the police shooting of a 14-year old Black child, João Pedro Matos Pinto, in Rio de Janeiro. He was merely the latest of thousands in recent years. Of the 9,000 Brazilians killed by police in the decade before 2020, three-quarters were Black. Impunity for police in these cases is the norm. And as in the US, the problems of racial inequality are much broader. Though 56 percent of Brazilians now identify as Black or biracial, economic and political power remains primarily with whites. And the pandemic which continues to rage in Brazil has taken an extra harsh toll on Brazilians of African descent

In the past year, there have been several positive steps. Last fall, electoral authorities ruled that political parties should give more funding to Black candidates, who are generally underrepresented in Brazil. And a historically high number of Black or biracial lawmakers took office in local elections last November. ( Interestingly, many had miraculously changed their race from white to Black ahead of the vote.) Some of Brazil's large companies made controversial moves to boost the number of Black employees specifically.

And yet, amid rising crime and killings in Brazil's cities, rightwing President Jair Bolsonaro has accused racial justice activists of "importing tensions" to Brazil and has a track record of encouraging police violence against suspects. Last November, fresh protests erupted after security guards in southern Brazil beat a Black man to death. And just weeks ago, a brutal, and potentially legally-questionable, police raid of a gang-infested favela in Rio de Janeiro left 28 people of color dead. In the days afterwards, protesters again decried the fate of so many Black Brazilians who die, they chanted, "by bullets, by hunger, or by COVID."

France: The Floyd protests also prompted a fresh reckoning with racial justice and police violence in France, where the case of Adama Traoré, a Malian-French man who died in police custody in 2016, remains an open wound for justice activists. According to the BBC, young men of African or Arab background are 20 times more likely to be stopped by French police than whites.

But in the year since, progress has been halting. For one thing, identifying the problem itself has been hard because France as part of its idea of a race-blind republican citizenship keeps very few statistics organized by race.

For another, although crime rates have stayed relatively low in France, a crime spike in 2019 and a spate of attacks by Islamic extremists created a sense of concern about both crime and France's national identity that rightwing politicians like Marine Le Pen have seized upon, forcing beleaguered centrist president Emmanuel Macron to tack rightward on security. Police unions have successfully blocked efforts to ban the chokehold that killed Traoré, and a new security law restricts the right of citizens to film on-duty police officers. Supporters of the measure say it protects law-abiding police from being subjected to online harassment, but critics say it makes it harder to hold bad cops accountable.

Australia: Some of the largest racial justice protests energized by those in the US took place in Australia, where thousands took to the streets to highlight the plight of the country's indigenous populations.

Although Indigenous Australians comprise just 3 percent of Australia's 25 million people, they account for nearly a third of all prison inmates, and a fifth of all deaths in jail. Hundreds have died in custody since the 1990s. Nearly a century after an Australian government program to strip Indigenous children from their families created a "Stolen Generation," Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities' health and education indicators lag, and bias against them remains widespread.

There has been some progress over the past year. Last July, the Australian government, working with Indigenous groups, expanded the scope of its "Closing the Gap" agreement, a policy framework that aims to redress generations of discrimination against Australia's Indigenous peoples. The new targets include a commitment to substantially reduce the number of Aboriginal people in prison by 2031.

But some critics say the targets aren't nearly ambitious enough. Others point out that many of the goals in an earlier agreement from 2008 remain unmet, and that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians aren't sufficiently involved in the policy decisions that affect their communities.

Okuafo Pa means good farmer in the Twi language of West Africa. Hence, the naming of the project reflects the value of good farming and the rewards it brings to the people of Ghana. The Okuafo Pa Project will support Ghana's sustainable development by promoting socio-economic growth and sustainable business models.

Watch to learn how Eni is helping youth to develop agricultural knowledge and skills.

Iranians head to the polls on Friday to vote for president, and it appears a foregone conclusion that hardliner Ebrahim Raisi, the nation's top judge, will win.

Outsiders, and many Iranians, roll their eyes at the predictability of this vote. Iran's Guardian Council, a dozen clerics and judges who answer only to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, has cleared the field for Raisi by ruling all of his credible challengers ineligible. The fix is in, and Iranians are now preparing for a moment when anti-reform conservatives, those who oppose social change inside Iran and deeper engagement with the West, will for the first time ever control the country's presidency, parliament, courts, and much of the media.

But simmering beneath the cynicism and predictability of this event is a deepening anxiety over Iran's future as it enters a potentially momentous period in the Islamic Republic's 42-year history. The Supreme Leader, in power for 32 years, is now 82 years old. Very few people know the true state of his health. Even if he outlives Raisi's presidency, which could last four or eight years, preparations for a historic, uncertain, and potentially dangerous leadership transition will intensify soon.

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Jon Lieber, Managing Director of the United States for the Eurasia Group, shares updates on recent policy developments:

With the Supreme Court's recent decision, is the Affordable Care Act here to stay?

Yes, this was the Court's third ruling on the Affordable Care Act upholding its constitutionality. This challenge was brought by Republican attorneys general who argued that the repeal of the individual mandate tax undermined the court's previous justification for allowing the law to stand. They were unsuccessful, yet again. And the political salience of the Affordable Care Act has really diminished in the last several years, with Republicans moving on to fight other issues and the Court signaling very strongly they don't want to get involved in overturning this piece of legislation. The Affordable Care Act will be here at least until Congress wants to legislate on it again.

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Iranians head to the polls on June 18, in what's widely perceived to be a foregone outcome. Analysts predict that popular disillusionment with Iran's political class will make this one of the lowest turnout elections in Iran's post-revolution history. According to one poll taken by the Iranian Students Polling Agency, as few as 42 percent of the eligible voting population is expected to show up. We take a look at contemporary Iran's demographics, and how this year's vote turnout might compare to previous elections.

Latin America needs vaccines: The World Health Organization has called on the G7 countries that pledged to donate a billion COVID vaccine doses to the developing world to prioritize Latin America, with WHO officials pointing to the fact that out of the top 10 countries with the highest COVID death tolls per capita over the past week, nine are in Latin America, where many health systems are overstretched and vaccines are scarce. This call comes as Latin America's COVID death toll has surpassed 1 million. Cases and deaths are soaring in Argentina and Colombia, for instance, while Brazil has fully vaccinated just 11 percent of its population despite recording the world's second highest death toll. Even Chile, which has carried out Latin America's most successful vaccination campaign to date, has been forced to delay reopening due to a recent surge in infections among unvaccinated younger people. The WHO says prioritizing the region for vaccine donations makes sense in order to stop large sustained outbreaks that may spur potentially more infectious COVID variants that'll cross borders and wreak havoc in populous states. Most of the donated shots will be distributed through the COVAX facility, which is a problem for countries like Venezuela, shut out from COVAX because of payment problems.

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3: China has launched three astronauts into orbit in its first space mission since 2016. The astronauts will spend three months aboard the country's new space station, demonstrating China's resolve to become a space power following successful earlier missions to collect soil samples on the Moon and land a wheeled robot on Mars.

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In 2019, Ethiopia's fresh Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed accepted a Nobel Peace Prize for his role in brokering a peace treaty with neighbor and longtime foe Eritrea. At the time, Abiy was hailed by the Western media as a reformist who was steering Ethiopia, long dominated by ethnic strife and dictatorial rule, into a new democratic era.

But barely two years later, Abiy stands accused of overseeing a campaign of ethnic cleansing in the northern Tigray region, putting the country on the brink of civil war.

It's against this backdrop that Ethiopians will head to the polls on June 21 for a parliamentary election now regarded as a referendum on Abiy's leadership. But will the vote be free and fair, and will the outcome actually reflect the will of the people? Most analysts say the answer is a resounding "no" on both fronts.

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Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at Stanford's Cyber Policy Center, Eurasia Group senior advisor and former MEP, discusses trends in big tech, privacy protection and cyberspace:

Cyber issues took center stage at the G7 summit. Is there a consensus among world leaders on how to handle cyberweapons?

Well, depending on who is included, there is a growing consensus that the escalations of conflict in cyberspace must stop. And G7 leaders that are now all representing democracies did call on Russia to hold perpetrators of cybercrime that operate from within its borders to account. So, I guess hope dies last because laws in Russia prevents the extradition of suspects to the US, even if Vladimir Putin answered positively when Joe Biden asked for cooperation on that front. And when it comes to limiting the spread of tools that are used for hacking, surveillance and infiltration, the EU has just moved ahead and adopted new dual use regulations which reflect the concerns for human rights violations when journalists are targeted the way that Jamal Khashoggi was. So ending the proliferation of systems that are used to attack would be an urgent but also obvious step for democratic nations to agree on.

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