Double whammy: After Covid-19, the US now grapples with protests
The protests began after the killing of George Floyd by a US police officer in Minneapolis.Updated: Jun 01, 2020 10:13 IST
The United States has been hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic which started from Wuhan in China and quickly spread across the world. It has the highest number of Covid-19 cases - nearly 18 lakh - as well as the death toll.
Many cities in the United States has seen the number of Covid-19 cases spike.
And now, it is being singed by the protests against the killing of a black man. George Floyd was killed last Monday in Minneapolis when a police officer pinned him down and knelt on his neck; the man died gasping for breath.
Since then, a wave of ‘I can’t breathe’ protests have swept across US cities with thousands coming on the streets and clashing with the police. These protests are once again resonating with the message ‘Black Lives Matter’.
In Washington, protesters started fires near the White House as tensions with police mounted during a third straight night of demonstrations. They piled up road signs and plastic barriers and lit the raging fire in the middle of H Street. Others added branches pulled from trees.
Enraged protesters screamed, “Who do you serve? Who do you protect?” Police shot pepper powders point black at several protesters.
The accused police officer Derek Chauvin was first fired and then charged with third-degree murder in Floyd’s death.
Nations around the world have watched in horror at the civil unrest in the United States. Burning cars and riot police in the US featured on newspaper front pages around the globe Sunday - bumping news of the Covid-19 pandemic to second-tier status in some places.
Thousands gathered in central London on Sunday to offer support for American demonstrators. Chanting “No justice! No peace!” and waving placards with the words “How many more?” at Trafalgar Square, the protesters ignored UK government rules banning crowds because of the pandemic. Police didn’t stop them.
Demonstrators then marched to the US Embassy, where a long line of officers surrounded the building. Several hundred milled around in the street and waved placards.
Protesters in Denmark also converged on the US Embassy on Sunday. Participants carried placards with messages such as “Stop Killing Black People”.
With 1,789,364 confirmed cases and 1,04,358 deaths, the US accounts for the highest number of infections and fatalities in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Centre for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE).
The total number of global coronavirus cases, meanwhile, has increased to over 6.1 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 3,71,000.
(With inputs from agencies)