Just a week ago, the United States was debating the pace of the country’s reopening, after more than two months of conﬁnement, because of the worst pandemic in a century.
WASHINGTON D.C. (Agencies) – The destruction of jobs due to the economic standstill evoked the worst ghosts of the Great Depression. Still, the danger of a resurgence made it necessary to calibrate the de-escalation phases well, because, in the midst of all this, when would the vaccine be ready? The coronavirus is still active, but on these nights of fire and rage, no one seems to remember it.
All the restrictions have been blown away by a wave of racial tension that began with the death of an African-American under the knee of a policeman and has put the first power in front of a borderline stress, with curfews in the big cities, the National Guard was deployed and ready to act. There had not been a wave of protests and riots against racism so widespread since 1968.
Nations around the world have watched in horror at the civil unrest in the United States following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white police officer pressed his knee on his neck until he stopped breathing.
Racism-tinged events no longer startle even America’s closest allies, though many have watched coverage of the often-violent protests with growing unease. Burning cars and riot police in the U.S. featured on newspaper front pages around the globe — moving COVID-19 pandemic news to second-tier status.
Floyd’s death on May 25 in Minneapolis was the latest in a series of deaths of black men and women at the hands of police in the U.S.
Thousands have gathered around major cities in the US and the rest of the world to offer support for American demonstrators. Chanting “No justice! No peace!” and waving placards with the words “How many more?” in Trafalgar Square, the protesters ignored U.K. government rules banning crowds because of the pandemic. Police didn’t stop them.
Protesters in Denmark also converged on the U.S. Embassy on Sunday. Participants carried placards with messages such as “Stop Killing Black People.”
In Berlin The U.S. Embassy was the scene of protests under the motto: “Justice for George Floyd.” Several hundred more people took to the streets Sunday in the capital’s Kreuzberg area, carrying signs with slogans like “Silence is Violence,” “Hold Cops Accountable,” and “Who Do You Call When Police Murder?” No incidents were reported.
In Italy, the Corriere della Sera newspaper’s senior U.S. correspondent Massimo Gaggi wrote that the reaction to Floyd’s killing was “different” than previous cases of black Americans killed by police and the ensuring violence.
In countries with authoritarian governments, state-controlled media have been highlighting the chaos and violence of the U.S. demonstrations, in part to undermine American officials’ criticism of their own nations.
In China, the protests are being viewed through the prism of U.S. government criticism of China’s crackdown on anti-government protests in Hong Kong.
In Iran, which has violently put down nationwide demonstrations by killing hundreds, arresting thousands and disrupting internet access to the outside world, state television has repeatedly aired images of the U.S. unrest. One TV anchor discussed “a horrible scene from New York, where police attacked protesters.”
Russia accused the United States of “systemic problems in the human rights sphere.” It denounced Floyd’s death as the latest in a series of police violence cases against African Americans.
In Brazil, hundreds of people gathered in front of the Rio de Janeiro state government palace to protest crimes committed by the police against black people in Rio’s working-class neighborhoods, known as favelas.
The protest, called “Black lives matter,” was interrupted when police used tear gas to disperse people. “I can’t breathe”, said some of the demonstrators, alluding to the George Floyd´s death.
In another expression of solidarity with American protesters, about 150 people marched through central Jerusalem on Saturday to protest the shooting death by Israeli police of an unarmed, autistic Palestinian man earlier in the day.
Trump blames the media
Donald Trump took to Twitter Sunday night to call for “law and order” and bash the media after another night of unrest following the death of George Floyd.
The American president tweeted that the media was “spreading fake news” and accused reporters of fomenting “hatred and anarchy” with their coverage of the nationwide protests.
This comes after several reports that White House advisers have urged the president to tone down his rhetoric on Twitter and have been calling on him to give a White House Oval Office address urging calm and denouncing systemic racism.
There’s no indication yet that the president plans to give such an address. Also on Sunday, the president’s National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien in an interview with CNN denied that systemic racism exists in U.S. police forces.
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