The Winston Churchill statue in Parliament Square is defaced for a second day on June 7. Photo: Isabel Infantes/AFP via Getty Images

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson issued a statement Monday urging Black Lives Matter protesters in the U.K. to "work peacefully, lawfully" following days of unrest that saw the statue of wartime leader Winston Churchill twice defaced.

Why it matters: The tense situation in the U.S. has brought the issue of racism and discrimination into focus globally as the world is consumed by the coronavirus pandemic. Protests spreading across Europe "highlight that discrimination and violence against black people is not only a problem of one country — it is commonplace," a top European Union agency told the EU Observer on Monday.

The big picture: Days-long protests have taken place in nations including the U.K., France and Germany. In the southwest English city of Bristol, demonstrators toppled a statue of 17th century slaveholder Edward Colston into the harbor, prompting police officers to launch an investigation, per AP.

What he's saying: Writing in the Voice, Johnson said: "The death of George Floyd took place thousands of miles away – in another country, under another jurisdiction – and yet we simply cannot ignore the depth of emotion that has been triggered by that spectacle, of a black man losing his life at the hands of the police.

  • "In this country and around the world his dying words — I can’t breathe — have awakened an anger and a widespread and incontrovertible, undeniable feeling of injustice, a feeling that people from black and minority ethnic groups do face discrimination: in education, in employment, in the application of the criminal law."
  • He added that the U.K. had made "huge strides," but "there is so much more to do."
In photos

In the United Kingdom:

Police clash with protesters during a Black Lives Matter protest rally in Westminster, London. Photo: Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images
Activists from the South London branch of Stand Up To Racism hold a protest outside the U.S. Embassy in London on May 31. Thousands more people turned out in the U.K. capital and northern English city of Manchester in further protests later in the day, the start of days-long protests in the country. Photo: Guy Smallman/Getty images

In Spain:

Demonstrators outside the United States Embassy on Jin Madrid on June 7. Photo: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

In Germany:

Tens of thousands of protesters rallied in Berlin and other German cities against racism on June 6, per Photo: Abdulhamid Hosbas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Thousands of protesters gather in front of the U.S. Embassy in Berlin during a demonstration against police violence and racism on May 30. Photo: Abdulhamid Hosbas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

In Japan:

People attend a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Tokyo on June 6. Photo: David Mareuil/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

In France:

Demonstrators in Nantes, on June 8. Protesters across France have been defying a ban on large gatherings implemented in response to the coronavirus pandemic to rally against racism. Photo: Loic Venance/AFP via Getty Images
A demonstrator holds a banner reading, "It's not whites vs blacks, this is the world vs racism" in front of a burning barricade following the intervention of security forces in Paris, on June 2, amid days-long protests. Photo: Julien Benjamin Guillaume Mattia/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

In Australia:

Tens of thousands of Australians have protested in cities including Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Sydney, where a traditional indigenous welcoming ceremony is held during a rally outside Sydney Town Hall in Australia on June 6. Photo: Speed Media/Icon Sportswire
Protesters in Sydney rally for the first in a series of protests on June 2. Australia's finance minister told Sky News demonstrators are "selfish" for protesting despite a ban on large gatherings during the pandemic. Photo: Speed Media/Icon Sportswire

In Sweden:

A Black Lives Matter demonstration in Stockholm on June 3. Photo: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP via Getty Images

In Canada:

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes a knee during in an anti-racism protest on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on June 5. Photo: Dave Chan/AFP via Getty Images
Thousands attend a protest at the Vancouver Art Gallery in Vancouver, Canada, on May 30. Photo: Mert Alper Dervis/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

In Greece:

Protest reference some of George Floyd's final words during a protest in Athens, Greece, on June 4. Photo: Menelaos Michalatos/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Riots police stand among tear gas during clashes with protesters outside the U.S. embassy in Athens on June 4. Photo: Angelos Tzortzinis/AFP via Getty Images

In New Zealand:

Some 4,000 protesters march in central Auckland on June 1. Photo: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

In Italy:

Protesters gather outside of the U.S. consulate in Milan, Italy, on May 31 with signs reading, "I can't breathe," as the country remains in a Phase 2 lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Alessandro Bremec/NurPhoto/Getty Images

In Mexico:

Hand-drawn portraits of George Floyd are hung on a gate outside of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City on Saturday. The sign reads "Racism kills, here, there, and all over the world." Photo: Pedro Pardo/AFP via Getty Images

Go deeper: Police in several U.S. cities join protesters in solidarity gestures

Editor's note: This article has been updated with the latest protest news.

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