The United States is preparing for mass demonstrations over the weekend to denounce racism and police brutality at a time of growing anger after a widespread video footage showing more law enforcement violations of demonstrators.
As protests escalate against the death of unarmed black American George Floyd at the hands of the police during his arrest last week, and the entering of protests its second week, President Donald Trump sparked more controversy as he spoke Friday of “a great day” for Floyd after publishing positive employment numbers.
Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate for the November presidential election, described Trump’s remarks as “frankly frank” as thousands took to the streets across America for the tenth consecutive day of anti-racist demonstrations.
It is expected to organize mass demonstrations on Saturday, including in Washington, which will be attended by tens of thousands of people.
The mayor of the city wrote “Black Lives Important” (Black Lives Matters) in giant letters on the road to the White House, just before the crowd arrived.
Saturday will also hold a ceremony to honor Floyd in Riverford, North Carolina, the state in which he was born, following a first ceremony in Minneapolis on Thursday.
As protests sparked by a policeman pressed his knee for about nine minutes on Floyd’s neck, who was crying, the debate over police use of force against largely peaceful protesters raged.
In Buffalo, New York, two policemen were suspended without pay after they appeared in a video clip of a 75-year-old protester who fell and was wounded in the head.
City mayor Byron Brown, who posted the punishment on Twitter, said he and the police commissioner “felt very unhappy” after watching the video.
A police statement said earlier that the man, who lost consciousness and bled heavily from the head, “stumbled and fell”.
In Indianapolis, police launched an investigation after a video was released showing at least four policemen beating a woman with batons and spraying them with pepper balls Sunday evening.
According to several media reports, New York City police officers Thursday beat dozens of peaceful demonstrators who violated the curfew in the Bronx after being surrounded, as they left them nowhere to flee to it.
New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shey announced on Friday that two policemen had been suspended after “several disturbing incidents”, one of which pushed him to the ground and the second to remove a man’s mask and sprayed it with pepper spray.
The two incidents are documented in a video.
New York Mayor Bill de Plazio, who imposed a night curfew throughout the past week after widespread looting at the beginning of the week, said New York police were showing “restraint”.
In an article published on Friday, the New York Times addressed him, saying, “Open your eyes,” adding that “the police are in a state of lawlessness”.
Floyd died at the age of 46 in Minneapolis, in the Midwest, and was shackled during his arrest on May 25 for a non-violent ward.
His death unleashed a wave of civil unrest nationwide that the United States had never seen since the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr in 1968.
Mass demonstrations took place in European capitals, and on Friday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participated in a massive demonstration in Ottawa.
His death put Donald Trump in the face of one of the biggest challenges facing his troubled presidency.
He has condemned Floyd’s death, but he has taken a firm stance against the protesters and has been accused of fanning tension.
President Trump sparked the controversy with his speech that Friday was a “great day” for George Floyd, the black American who was killed by a white policeman, and his death sparked a historic protest movement in the United States.
“We all saw what happened last week,” Trump said of Floyd’s death case.
We cannot let that happen again”.
“I hope George will be watching us from heaven and thinking that what is going on in his country is very great.
This is a great day for him, this is a great day for everyone”.
Trump considered that “this is a great, very great day for equality”, while he is accused of not commenting on any of the issues condemned by the demonstrators, particularly racism, police brutality and inequality.
He spoke to the media to praise the sudden drop in the unemployment rate that was supposed to rise due to measures to combat the emerging Coronavirus.
His comments on George Floyd were also widely interpreted as a surprising match between that positive economic development and a painful event shaking the United States.
But the White House protested this “wrong” approach to Trump’s statements.
“The president was clearly talking about the fight for fair justice and fair treatment before the law, when he made that comment,” wrote one of Trump’s advisers on communications, Ben Williamson, in a tweet.
Before making his statement about George Floyd, Trump spoke about the issue of equality before the law, which he believed “must mean that every American receives the same treatment when interacting with the security forces, whatever their race, color, gender, or religion”.
Everyone should be treated fairly by the security forces”.
Trump’s choice to speak for the victim, Floyd, has also drawn criticism.
“The last words of George Floyd – I cannot breathe, I cannot breathe – resonate throughout our country,” said Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, in November.
“For the president to try to put other words on the words of Gorge Floyd, it is frankly odious,” added former Vice President Barack Obama in a speech.
Since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25 and the demonstrations that followed with its looting and riots in many American cities, Donald Trump has promoted a military response to popular movements.
He introduced himself as the head of “law and order”, and threatened to mobilize the army on the roads to put an end to the abuses, as he criticized state governors who refused to deploy the National Guard.
His stance has sparked unprecedented criticism from former military leaders, including former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
The current defense minister, Mark Esber, took a distance from these statements, saying that the army should not be deployed.
Trump has long held that the best policy to reduce inequality is to support economic growth and reduce unemployment among African Americans.
Three years ago, he never stopped promoting the low unemployment rate to present himself as “the president who has done most for the black community since Abraham Lincoln”, the president who ended slavery in the 1860s.