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“We can’t breathe”—how George Floyd’s killing is shaping Middle Eastern protest

Activists are using the iconography of the “American martyr” to fight their own political battles

By Christiane Gruber  

People take photographs of a mural in memory of George Floyd on a wall of the Cup Foods store. Photo: Dave Schwarz/St. Cloud Times via USA TODAY NETWORK/Sipa USA

More than two months have passed since George Floyd died under the knee of an American police officer in Minneapolis. As Floyd lost his breath, he cried out “I can’t breathe,” words that have become a rallying cry for many protesting against systemic racism and police brutality.

The protests have resonated in public art throughout the US. Close to Cup Foods, where the killing took place, three artists created a large mural in Floyd’s honour, above. His name is embodied by the protesting masses, while other victims of racist killings are depicted as seeds unable to grow into…

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