Violent protests have erupted in the US following the death of George Floyd. CFP
Traffic was blocked, fire was set and protesters clashed with riot police, who fired tear gas and plastic bullets in an effort to restore order.
According to The New York Times, by June 2, protests had erupted in at least 140 cities across the United States after George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died while under police custody on May 25.
CNN reported that a widely-circulated video shows “police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes while Floyd was pinned to the ground following his arrest”.
Despite mobilization of the National Guard, violence and destruction of property have broken out across major cities. According to the Guardian, this has been the most widespread civil unrest in the US since the assassination of social activist Martin Luther King Jr in 1968.
Despite the fact that the US is called a “melting pot”, inequality exists among different races in the country, reported Global Times. Although racial equality is guaranteed in law, from the social level and from people’s mindsets, potential racial conflicts are brewing.
Jamar Nelson, a community activist in Minneapolis, described the relationship between the police and the city’s black community as fractured, The New York Times reported. “The truth is, we do not have a good history,” he said, describing the police department as “racist, bigoted and uncaring about the black community”.
According to Tom Fowdy of CGTN, the US is a deeply unequal and divided country with shocking levels of wealth inequality and structural racism. The violent unrest stemming from Floyd’s killing is a marked demonstration of these issues, illustrating the frustration and despair felt by many in the country.
In response to protests, at least 40 cities in more than 20 US states and Washington DC had imposed curfews as of June 2. On June 1, President Donald Trump threatened use of military force to “stop the violence”, according to the Guardian.
According to CBS, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Trump, who has often urged police to be tough, was not helping matters. “We are beyond a tipping point in this country, and his rhetoric only enflames that,” she said.