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Empire State Building's Cecil The Lion Projection Called 'Embarrassing' For Neglecting Black Murder Victims

03/08/2015 13:17 BST | Updated 03/08/2015 13:59 BST

A spectacular projection of Cecil the Lion which lit up the Empire State Building has been labelled "embarrassing" for suggesting the animal's death is more important that the deaths of many black people at the hands of police.

Many people on social media were unimpressed with the high-profile projection at the weekend, in a stunt raising awareness of endangered animals being killed by humans, after Zimbabwean lion Cecil was illegally shot by American dentist Walter Palmer.

Some felt the projection gave unfair attention to Cecil's death, when some humans are also "endangered" by being killed fellow humans. They highlighted the recent concerns over killings of unarmed black people in the USA by police, asking why the 'Black Lives Matter' campaign hadn't received as much attention as the death of a single animal.

US writer Roxane Gay tweeted suggesting that perhaps black people's deaths would be taken more seriously if they dressed like lions:

black lives matter

The projection in New York has drawn criticism from supporters of the Black Lives Matter campaign

Black people are three times more likely to be killed by police in the United States than white people, according to Sam Sinyangwe who maps police violence.

Other critics of the Cecil projection flagged the deaths in the ongoing Palestine conflict, while one commenter in the UK asked why Mark Duggan, who was shot by British police in 2011 sparking riots, hadn't be honoured in the same way as the lion.

empire state

The projection in New York has drawn criticism

"Lions are cool and all but... priorities, man" tweeted one observer, while another said: "Embarassing [sic] when human beings slaughtered don't get the same treatment."

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Last week tweeters in the UK also compared the public reaction to a dead lion and a migrant who died trying to reach Britain from the French port of Calais.

Cecil's death has provoked an outpouring of grief online and in the media, and the migrant's death was announced a day later as Calais migrant died after more than 1,500 migrants stormed the Channel Tunnel.

In 24 hours, over 264,000 people tweeted the hashtag #CecilTheLion, in stark contrast to the 3,700 who tweeted about the death at Calais.

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