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Condemning America: Countries react to U.S. protests and police killing Blacks

By Brian E. Muhammad Staff Writer @globalpeeks | Last updated: Jun 2, 2020 - 8:22:40 AM

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People gather in Trafalgar Square in central London on May 31 to protest against the recent killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis that has led to protests across the U.S. Photo: AP/Wide World Photos

There is mounting international anger toward the United States as images of American cities burning and mass protests intensified after the police killing of George Floyd, 46, a Black man whose death was captured on video in Minneapolis, Minn. 

 “We’re tired” and “we can’t take it anymore,” is on the lips of frustrated Black people. The frustration is embedded in the collective conscience of Blacks. The anger is 465 years of buildup that exploded in the aftermath of another Black life snuffed out in nine-minutes of torture.  Now the world is reacting, say observers.

There was condemnation and calls for accountability from world leaders, human rights chiefs and organizations engaging solidarity demonstrations in world capitals from Monrovia, Liberia to London, Berlin, Tokyo and Toronto. As far away as Australia, New Zealand and Poland people protested at the doors of American Consulates.

“His murder was so egregious that it warranted a response from the international community,” said Roger Wareham, human rights attorney with the International Secretariat of the December 12th Movement.

The December 12th Movement is advocating that the global response should not be restricted to the killing of Mr. Floyd, but to the structural racism that allowed it to happen. 

“His murder is really a microcosm of our daily existence in the United States,” said Atty. Wareham, adding, “It’s really our normal.” 

Former Ghana President Jerry John Rawlings said in a tweet, the events engulfing America is a wake-up call. “It is heart-warming to see Americans react the way they are to the unfortunate incident,” he tweeted, calling the killing “shameful and unfortunate.”

“If some of these atrocities, especially from some White police officers against Black citizens, cannot shock the American populace to see evidence of their own decline, what can?” he questioned.

A May 29 statement, by spokesman, Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the African Union Commission joined a plethora of world figures to strongly condemn the killing of Mr. Floyd. 

The statement said Mr. Mahamat “firmly reaffirms and reiterates the African Union’s rejection of the continuing discriminatory practices against Black citizens of the United States of America.”

The statement was in line with an historic resolution challenging U.S. Racial Discrimination, first issued in 1964 by the OAU—Organization of African Unity, the forerunner organization of the African Union.

From Geneva Switzerland, Michelle Bachelet, the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the United Nations condemned the killing and urged “serious action” to halt U.S. police killings of unarmed Blacks. 

“The U.S. authorities must take serious action to stop such killings, and to ensure justice is done when they do occur,” said Ms. Bachelet in a statement. 

She called on the U.S. government to reform procedures and systems; and charge and convict police officers who resort to excessive use of force. She welcomed U.S. Federal authorities’ announcement of an investigation. 

“But in too many cases in the past, such investigations have led to killings being deemed justified on questionable grounds, or only being addressed by administrative measures,” said Ms. Bachelet. 

The U.S. in 2018 dropped out of the UN Human Rights Council, accusing the international body of giving a platform to human rights abusers while too readily condemning Israel, a close U.S. ally. But in interviews political analysts told The Final Call that ‘Israel’ was a smokescreen and membership was abandoned. Analysts argued, it was the council’s criticism of U.S. human rights record over police brutality and mass incarceration. 

Mr. Floyd is the latest in a long line of extrajudicial killings of unarmed Blacks by U.S. police officers and White self-appointed vigilantes. The high commissioner expressed she was dismayed to add Mr. Floyd’s name to that of Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, as well as Ahmaud Arbery and Trayvon Martin who were killed by armed White members of the public. 

Atty. Wareham welcomed the statements from the AU Chair and the UN High Commissioner but said effective mechanisms must be established to challenge U.S. practices. 

People protest in Berlin, Germany, May 31 after the violent death of African-American George Floyd by a White policeman in the USA against racism and police violence, among other things with a sign “Who do call when police murders?” Photo: AP/Wide World Photos
“What we’re pushing for is a special rapporteur on the United States that will constantly monitor the human rights situation in the United States,” said, Atty. Wareham. “That would be the kind of international pressure that will help in forcing some change in how the U.S. deal,” Atty. Wareham added. 

He told The Final Call that international pressure alone does nothing if there is no movement in the streets of America. “It will be a big compliment to just the motion that’s going on now, the unrest …which historically is what has always brought whatever progress we’ve made in this country,” reasoned Atty. Wareham. 

Geopolitically the U.S. has become increasingly isolated on the world stage. Observers note disdain has been escalating against the Donald Trump administration whose government they see as hard lined domestically and internationally. World leaders who have been at odds with U.S. foreign policy stated solidarity with U.S. Blacks and weighed in on the unrest.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tweeted “if you’re dark-skinned walking in the U.S., you can’t be sure you’ll be alive in the next few minutes.”

“African Americans are deprived of human rights,” said the Ayatollah.  He said the situation exposes U.S. hypocrisy as a nation that readily calls out others on rights abuses and espouses  “American exceptionalism” while persecuting Blacks at home.

“How can they claim to support human rights? Despite the fact that African Americans represent only 13 percent of the American society [and] 25 percent of the victims of police brutality are Black?” he asked.  The Islamic Republic has in the past showed solidarity with the U.S. Black community, hosting freedom fighters like the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam and hosting forums in Tehran for U.S. activists fighting for justice and equality. 

Iran Front Page News said a group of Iranians held a candlelight vigil for George Floyd in the Mellat Park of Mashhad, the capital of Khorasan Razavi province.

In Havana, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, the Foreign Minister of Cuba tweeted: “George Floyd did not ‘pass away.’ He was brutally murdered. Unfortunately, this is a well-known story for African Americans.” 

The May 28 tweet said, “He was unarmed and shouting ‘I can’t breathe,’ but that wasn’t enough to prevent an injustice. Our skin color should not define us.” 

For Beijing, it sees the unrest through the prism of U.S. government criticism of China’s crackdown on anti-government protests in Hong Kong. Associated Press said Hu Xijin, the editor of the state-owned Global Times newspaper, tweeted that U.S. officials can now see protests out of their own windows: “I want to ask Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi and Secretary (Mike) Pompeo: Should Beijing support protests in the U.S., like you glorified rioters in Hong Kong?”

“Racism against ethnic minorities in the U.S. is a chronic disease of American society,” foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters in Beijing, adding: “The current situation reflects once more the severity of the problems of racism and police violence in the U.S.” 

In London the streets of Peckham, a predominate African and Caribbean community, solidarity protesters carried signs that read “The UK is not innocent’ and Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous quote “Riots is the Language of the Unheard.”  Online footage showed demonstrators chanting “Justice for the innocent” and “No Justice, No Peace!” In the UK and other parts of Europe people identify with the police brutality. 

“Those over here are feeling the pain of those over there because we suffer similar injustices,’ said Abdul Hakeem Muhammad, the European Regional representative of the Nation of Islam based in London.

Student Minister Muhammad told The Final Call that “there has to be a complete reclassification” of police. The people are saying ‘enough is enough,’ he added. 

Local activists say with solidarity they are also speaking for the disproportionate brutality of African and Caribbean people by law enforcement in Britain. 

“My brothers and sisters are in America fighting the fight and we’ve got to show them that it’s not just an American problem,” a protester in London told Molly Hunter, MSNBC foreign correspondent on Twitter. “Look at this, London here. We built this from slavery, haven’t we done enough? Haven’t we paid enough?”

The Daily Mail said UK protests are the beginning of several demonstrations planned across Britain by the Black Lives Movement of the UK. 

According to published reports, May 28, in West Africa, a demonstration took place outside the American Embassy in Monrovia, Liberia. The protesters called on the embassy to prevail on Washington to swiftly bring justice to the “perpetrators involved in the murder” of Mr. Floyd,

 According to media reports, thousands of Germans gathered in front of the American embassy in Berlin May 30 to send the same message of solidarity. 

“The nervous system of the conscious community … it’s now people of all creed, classes and color that are disgusted by the type of behavior the police have been exhibiting,” said Abdul Hakeem Muhammad. “It’s a worldwide movement.”