- Merkel said that “racism is awful and the society in the United States is very polarized.”
- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said "we all saw it on our screens and I perfectly understand people's right to protest what took place."
- Last week, the African Union condemned "the continuing discriminatory practices against Black citizens of the United States of America."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has joined several other world leaders in condemning the brutal murder of George Floyd, an African-American, by an American policeman. “The killing of George Floyd is very, very terrible,” Merkel told national broadcaster ZDF in an interview.
Floyd died during a violent arrest when a police officer placed his knee on Floyd’s neck and squeezed it hard. The police officer, Derek Chauvin, has since been charged with manslaughter. The incident, which was recorded on a mobile phone, has sparked major protests across the United States.
Questioned on whether US President Donald Trump has, in a way, played a role in the unrest sweeping across the country, Merkel responded that while she tries “to bring people together, to seek reconciliation,” the US president’s “political style is a very controversial one.” Merkel added that “racism is awful and the society in the United States is very polarized.”
Trump is on record having threatened to use the military to stop the violent demonstrations that have rocked the country following Floyd’s murder. “I work with elected presidents around the world and of course with the American president and I hope that we can bring peace to this country,” Merkel says of the current unrest in the US. She adds that the task of politicians is to try to unite people.
Johnson: Racism and Violence Belong Nowhere
Merkel’s condemnation of Floyd’s murder comes a day after another world leader, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, expressed similar sentiments. “What happened in the United States was appalling, it was inexcusable, we all saw it on our screens and I perfectly understand people’s right to protest what took place.”
Asked if he had spoken to Trump about Floyd’s death, the Prime Minster responded, “my message to President Trump, to everybody in the United States from the UK is that . . . racism, racist violence has no place in our society.”
He said that, while people had the right to protest, “I would urge people to protest peacefully, and in accordance with the rules on social distancing.” The Prime Minister added, “everybody’s lives matter, black lives matter, but we must fight this virus, as well.”
African Union Condemns Floyd’s Murder
Other world leaders who have condemned the said murder include the African Union Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat. Last Friday, in a statement, Faki said the AU “strongly condemns the murder of George Floyd that occurred in the United States of America at the hands of law enforcement officers, and wishes to extend his deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.”
The statement also “firmly reaffirms and reiterates the African Union’s rejection of the continuing discriminatory practices against Black citizens of the United States of America.” Faki, on behalf of the AU, “further urges the authorities in the United States of America to intensify their efforts to ensure the total elimination of all forms of discrimination based on race or ethnic origin.”