In a much awaited development the UN’s human rights chief has taken notice of the protests raging across the United States and said that America’s “structural racism” and “glaring inequalities” are at the heart of the massive protests that have gripped the US, adding that it is high time for “far-reaching reforms.” This statement comes amid increasing worldwide anger directed at the US Administration for its mishandling of the Floyd protests.
The protests over the death of George Floyd, an African American choked to death by a police officer during detention, have reached such proportions they have drawn attention of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet.
America’s ‘inequality problem’ can not be ignored anymore: UN
She said that demonstrations that often grew into violent riots clearly show people have been driven “to the boiling point” and America’s deep-seated inequality problem cannot be ignored anymore.
The voices calling for an end to the killings of unarmed African Americans need to be heard. The voices calling for an end to police violence need to be heard. And the voices calling for an end to the endemic and structural racism that blights US society need to be heard,” Bachelet said in a statement.
She also dismissed all attempts to portray “mass outpouring of grief” as an agenda secretly driven by some political forces. Earlier, some public figure in the US claimed controversial billionaire, George Soros might have had a hand in the developments.
“There can be no doubt as to what or who is ‘behind’ these protests. We have seen thousands upon thousands of peaceful protesters, of diverse backgrounds, taking to the streets to demand their rights and to call for change,” Bachelet said.
Structural racism has influenced how laws in America are enforced. This is not new. It’s been going on for generations. But we can—and we must—reform these systems and hold those accountable who abuse them.— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) May 28, 2020
Instead, she urged the US to finally take lessons from both its past and present and admit the “glaring inequality” problem. “The anger we have seen in the US … shows why far-reaching reforms and inclusive dialogue are needed there to break the cycle of impunity for unlawful killings by police and racial bias in policing.”
Discrimination in the US does not only poison race relations, the official warned, as she urged the authorities to consider “socio-economic factors” as well. Hundreds of cities in all 50 US states have, over the past week, seen rallies in solidarity with Floyd and other African Americans killed by police. With tensions running high, some protest actions spiraled into riots and violent clashes with law enforcement while others were marred by looting and property damage.
Many states called in the National Guard to get the situation under control. Several people have died in the unrest while dozens more were injured. President Donald Trump deployed troops to Washington DC and has threatened to send them to other states as well.
Who was George Floyd and why was he killed?
George Floyd, a black man in the United States, recently died due to police brutality at the hands of a white police officer named Derek Chauvin.
Prosecutors wrote that Floyd complied with orders from police officers to leave his vehicle, but did not “voluntarily” get in their squad car. “While standing outside the car, Mr. Floyd began saying and repeating that he could not breathe,” they wrote.
Floyd was soon brought to the ground. One officer held Floyd’s back, another his legs, as Chauvin placed his left on Floyd’s neck. Floyd repeated, “I can’t breathe,” “Mama,” and “please,” as the minutes went by.
The medical examiner noted Mr Floyd had underlying heart conditions and the combination of these, “potential intoxicants in his system” and being restrained by the officers “likely contributed to his death”.
The report says Mr Chauvin had his knee on Mr Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds – almost three minutes of which was after Mr Floyd became non-responsive.
Nearly two minutes before he removed his knee the other officers checked Mr Floyd’s right wrist for a pulse and were unable to find one. He was taken to the Hennepin County Medical Center in an ambulance and pronounced dead around an hour later.
US cities grind to a halt as unrest blows out of proportion
Lori Lightfoot, the mayor of Chicago, said her city was sharply limiting access to its central business district after violent protests. She reflected the exasperation of many officials and ordinary residents over the turn from peaceful protest to explosive violence.
She told CNN she was “hurt and angry at those who decided to try to hijack this moment and use it as an opportunity to wreak havoc, to loot and to destroy. You should be ashamed of yourselves. What you have done is to dishonor yourself, your family and our city.”
The shocking videotaped death Monday of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, at the hands of police in Minneapolis ignited a nationwide wave of outrage over law enforcement’s repeated use of lethal force against unarmed African Americans.
From Seattle to New York, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets demanding tougher murder charges and more arrests over the death of Floyd, who stopped breathing after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder; three other officers with him have been fired but for now face no charges.
RT with additional input by GVS News Desk