Protests have spread across the world this weekend (May 30 and 31) following the murder of the 46-year-old African American man, George Floyd, at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis. Demonstrators took to the streets in London, Berlin, and Toronto, showing solidarity with activists in the US, who have been protesting since Floyd’s death last week (May 25).
The killing also led to an outpouring of activism online, which has just gained even more momentum through new backing from K-pop stans, who are lending their enormous digital reach to the Black Lives Matter protests. To show their support for demonstrators and protect those protesting, the music fans have spammed a police ‘snitch’ app with fancams – videos and memes of K-pop artists.
On Saturday (May 30), the Dallas Police Department urged its Twitter followers to send them clips of “illegal activity from the protests” via their iWatch Dallas app. In response, user @ngelwy tweeted: “Download the app and send them all your fancams!!! Send them all!!! Make their jobs as hard as possible!!! Get them frustrated!!! Make them take down the app!!!”
Shortly after, the police reported via Twitter that they were having technical difficulties with the app, and that it would be “down temporarily”.
The stans have also been stopping their favourite acts from trending online so as not to distract from the urgent demonstrations against police brutality. Fans of groups including BLACKPINK, BTS, NCT 127, and more have censored the names of band members to prevent them from trending, and keep the #BlackLivesMatter at the top of everybody’s feeds.
Fans restrained from spamming BLACKPINK’s hashtag on May 28, despite their collaboration with Lady Gaga – titled “Sour Candy” – dropping that day, while NCT 127 stans avoided posting, even in light of the band achieving its first win on K-pop chart show M Countdown last week.
Black Lives Matter protests were sparked in the US last week after 44-year-old Derek Chauvin killed Floyd by kneeling on his neck for nine minutes, ignoring his cries of “please, I can’t breathe”. The officer – who was fired along with three others after video footage emerged of the killing – has since been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Floyd’s family described the arrest as a “welcome but overdue step on the road to justice”, adding that they “expected a first-degree murder charge”.
Protests have been raging across US cities, including outside the White House in Washington DC, since the killing, which is the latest in a devastatingly long list of murders of black people at the hands of law enforcement. Police have responded to protesters by using tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and batons, and were even filmed arresting a CNN camera crew live on air.
Read our guide on how to protest safely during a pandemic here.