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America “Can’t Breathe” as protests continue to surge

Protests following the death of George Floyd, a black man who pleaded that he couldn’t breathe while he was being pinned-down with a knee by a Minneapolis police officer, has caused great unrest and disturbance across the United States of America. Demonstrators have mobilized around the world, and even small towns with Klan histories have turned into sites of protest.

The Story

On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after a police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes. During the entire process, Floyd was handcuffed and lying face-down on the street. Two other officers further restrained Floyd. A fourth prevented onlookers from intervening.

George Floyd - Wikipedia

Floyd, who had been arrested on suspicion of using a fake bill. He begged for his life, repeatedly telling the officers, “I can’t breathe”. During the final three minutes, Floyd was motionless and had no pulse. The officers ignored onlookers who pleased to release Floyd. To add to the brutality, Chauvin’s knee remained on Floyd’s neck even as emergency medical technicians attempted to treat him.

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Here’s a video detailing the entire timeline of the incident, if you haven’t happened to see it by now:

Source: The New York Times

Consequences of the Blunder

The killing of George Floyd on May 25 triggered a series of unmatched protests in the United States. Curfews were being imposed in cities across the country. President Donald Trump was briefly evacuated to a bunker during the night of violent demonstrations at White House.

White House went dark for hours during the protests in DC

Thousands trudged down the streets in big cities like New York and Seattle. Tighter groups in small towns like Vidor, Texas; Havre, Mont.; and Marion, Ohio also took part. They altogether denounced a broken law enforcement system, marked by racial injustice.

The city's mayor approved the painting of words Black Lives Matter on the street on Fridaay
The newly-found Black Lives Matter Plaza in the US capital

Tens of thousands of people marched in Washington DC, in the city’s largest protest so far. Security forces blocked any approach to the White House. Meanwhile, people paid their respects to Mr Floyd in North Carolina, where he was born, before a memorial service.

A Worldwide Dissent

In the UK, Parliament Square flooded with protestors. Despite calls by the government to “avoid mass gatherings” for fear of spreading the coronavirus, protests continued.

People kneeled in vigils in Sydney, Australia
Demonstrations in Australia

In Australia, there were major protests in the cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. They mainly focused on the treatment of indigenous Australians. There were also demonstrations in France, Germany and Spain.

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Twitter plays it’s part

The social media giant put a label on a video posted by the @TeamTrump account. It said, “This media has been disabled in response to a claim by the copyright owner.”

The video was still up on President Donald Trump’s YouTube channel and included pictures of Floyd, whose death sparked widespread protests, at the start.

Shocking invocations from the president

In a yet another incomprehensible and stunning statement, the president said that nationwide protests against racism and police brutality had made it “a great day” for Floyd. “This is a great day for him. It’s a great day for everybody,” Trump said.

Twitter disables Trump campaign's George Floyd video tribute

Though the protests have brought out Americans from all races, Trump has refused to engage in any kind of meaningful debate over policing procedures.

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Vandalism (Action involving deliberate destruction to public/private property)

Mahatma Gandhi's Statue Desecrated Outside Indian Embassy In ...

Taking to Twitter, United States’ Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster expressed his apologies. “I’m appalled by both the killing of George Floyd and the ‘awful’ violence and vandalism in the US”, he said. The violation of Mahatma Gandhi’s statue, that begun in name of protests thereafter, is condemnable (to express an unfavorable judgement).

He also assured that the US administration stands against prejudice and discrimination of any type, while also extending his apologies to India.

Conclusion

One can safely assume that the anti-racial movements are here to stay for the coming few weeks. What we must pick from these chaotic scenarios across the globe is that racial slurs won’t be tolerated in today’s age.

A beautiful graffiti mural honoring George Floyd at Minneapolis, MN, USA

It’s the responsibility of our generation, to make each and every human being feel comfortable in their own skin. The world needs to change, and only then the world can be called truly just.

Raghav Khullar
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Student | Melophile | Writer | Programmer | History Fanatic
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