US anti-racism protests stretch to New Zealand | Daily News


 

US anti-racism protests stretch to New Zealand

Demonstrators running amok in Washington DC.
Demonstrators running amok in Washington DC.

US: Protests sweeping the United States over the death of George Floyd reverberated on the other side of the globe Monday when thousands marched in solidarity on the streets of New Zealand.

The rallies were peaceful in contrast to the days of violent protests in the US after Floyd, an African-American, died after being handcuffed and as a white police officer, who has since been charged with murder, knelt on his neck.

In Auckland, about 2,000 people marched to the US Consulate chanting “no justice no peace” and “black lives matter”.

Another 500 gathered in Christchurch, and a large crowd was expected to maintain a candlelit vigil outside the parliament buildings in Wellington.

Nigerian-New Zealand musician, Mazbou Q, who organised the protest, said the gatherings were not just about the death of Floyd.

“The ongoing persecution of the black community is an ongoing phenomenon. The same white supremacy which has led to disproportionate killings of black people in the US exists here in New Zealand,” he told the crowd.

“We pride ourselves on being a nation of empathy, kindness and love. But the silence from the government and the media does not reflect that at all. In fact, it makes us complicit.” In Christchurch, where 51 people were killed by a self-proclaimed white supremacist last year, one speaker, Josephine Varghese, told the crowd: “We demand racial and economic justice. Black lives matter, indigenous lives matter, Muslim lives matter.” Police maintained a low-key presence as the protestors defied strict coronavirus regulations demanding gatherings be restricted to a maximum 100 people, who must maintain social distancing.

New Zealand is on the verge of eliminating coronavirus with no new cases for 10 days. Of 1,154 confirmed cases, only one remains active.

Meanwhile, Police fired tear gas outside the White House late Sunday as anti-racism protestors again took to the streets to voice fury at police brutality, and major US cities were put under curfew to suppress rioting.

With the Trump administration branding instigators of six nights of rioting as domestic terrorists, there were more confrontations between protestors and police and fresh outbreaks of looting.

Violent clashes erupted repeatedly in a small park next to the White House, with authorities using tear gas, pepper spray and flash bang grenades to disperse crowds who lit several large fires and damaged property.

Hundreds of police and National Guard troops were deployed ahead of the protest.

Looting was reported Sunday night in Philadelphia and the Los Angeles suburb of Santa Monica, and images on Fox TV showed ransacked Rolex and Gucci stores in New York city.

Officials in LA -- a city scarred by the 1992 riots over the police beating of Rodney King, an

The Department of Defense said that around 5,000 National Guard troops had been mobilized in 15 states as well as the capital Washington, with another 2,000 on standby.

The widespread resort to uniformed National Guards units is rare, and evoked disturbing memories of the rioting in US cities in 1967 and 1968 in a turbulent time of protest over racial and economic disparities.

US President Donald Trump blamed the extreme left for the violence, saying he planned to designate a group known as Antifa as a terrorist organization.

Joe Biden, Trump's likely Democratic opponent in November's presidential election, visited the scene of one anti-racism protest.

“We are a nation in pain right now, but we must not allow this pain to destroy us,” Biden tweeted, posting a picture of him speaking with an African-American family at the site where protesters had gathered in Delaware late Saturday.

Floyd's death has also triggered protests beyond the United States, with thousands in Montreal and London marching in solidarity on Sunday.

- AFP


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