World’s reaction to US weaves solidarity, calls to change

A woman holds a sign out of the sunroof of a car in central London on May 31, 2020 calling for justice following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest in Minneapolis, USA. (AFP)
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Updated 01 June 2020

World’s reaction to US weaves solidarity, calls to change

  • Many people around the world have watched with growing unease at the civil unrest in the US after the latest in a series of police killings of black men and women
  • George Floyd died on May 25 in Minneapolis after a white police officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck until he stopped breathing

BANGKOK: Several thousand people marched in New Zealand’s largest city on Monday to protest the killing of George Floyd in the US as well as to stand up against police violence and racism in their own country.
Many people around the world have watched with growing unease at the civil unrest in the US after the latest in a series of police killings of black men and women. Floyd died on May 25 in Minneapolis after a white police officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck until he stopped breathing. The officer was fired and charged with murder.
The protesters in Auckland marched to the US Consulate, where they kneeled. They held banners with slogans like “I can’t breathe” and “The real virus is racism.” Hundreds more joined the peaceful protests and vigils elsewhere in New Zealand, where Monday was a public holiday.
In Iran, which has in the recent past violently put down nationwide demonstrations by killing hundreds, arresting thousands and disrupting Internet access to the outside world, state television has repeatedly aired images of the US unrest.
Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi urged the US government and police to stop the violence.
“To American officials and police: Stop violence against your people and let them breathe,” Mousavi said at a news conference in Tehran on Monday. He also told the American people that “the world is standing with you.” He added that Iran is saddened to see “the violence the US police have recently” set off.
At a gathering in central London on Sunday, thousands offered support for American demonstrators, chanting “No justice! No peace!” and waving placards with the words “How many more?”
In other places, too, demonstrators wove solidarity with the US protesters with messages aimed at local authorities.
In Brazil, hundreds of people protested crimes committed by the police against black people in Rio de Janeiro’s working-class neighborhoods, known as favelas. Police used tear gas to disperse them, with some demonstrators saying “I can’t breathe,” repeating Floyd’s own words.
In Canada, an anti-racism protest degenerated into clashes between Montreal police and some demonstrators. Police declared the gathering illegal after they say projectiles were thrown at officers who responded with pepper spray and tear gas. Some windows were smashed and some fires were set.
In authoritarian nations, the unrest became a chance to undermine US criticism of their own situations. Iranian state television repeatedly aired images of the US unrest. Russia said the United States had systemic human rights problems.
And state-controlled media in China saw the protests through the prism of American views on Hong Kong’s anti-government demonstrations, which China has long said the US encouraged. In a commentary, the ruling Communist Party newspaper Global Times said Chinese experts had noted that US politicians might think twice before commenting again on Hong Kong, knowing “their words might backfire.”
North Korea’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper on Monday reported about the demonstrations, saying that protesters “harshly condemned” a white policeman’s “lawless and brutal murder” of a black citizen. It printed three large photos of protest scenes from recent days in the city where Floyd was killed.
The article said hundreds of protesters gathered in front of the White House chanting “No justice, no peace,” and that demonstrations were occurring in other cities and were expected to grow. It did not make any direct comments about the Trump administration.


UK publisher condemned over book edited by 'extremist apologist’

Updated 1 min 29 sec ago

UK publisher condemned over book edited by 'extremist apologist’

  • Cage is a London-based group Prime Minister Boris Johnson once described as “apologists for terror”
  • Qureshi described in 2015 the British Daesh executioner known as “Jihadi John” as a “beautiful young man”

LONDON: A British publisher has been condemned for producing a book edited by a leader of an advocacy group accused of supporting extremists.
Manchester University Press will print “I Refuse to Condemn,” edited by the research director for CAGE, Asim Qureshi, in October, The Sunday Telegraph reported.
CAGE is a London-based group Prime Minister Boris Johnson once described as “apologists for terror.”
Qureshi described in 2015 the British Daesh executioner known as “Jihadi John” as a “beautiful young man.”
Jihadi John, whose real name was Mohammed Ewazi, was responsible for a series of Daesh beheadings in Syria.
Britain’s counter-extremism commissioner, Sara Khan, criticised the publisher and said its publication of the book gave legitimacy to a group that supported convicted terrorists and provided platforms for “Al-Qaeda ideologues.”
“CAGE's senior leaders have advocated supporting violent jihad overseas,” Khan told The Sunday Telegraph.
She added that Qureshi had also refused to condemn the preachings of Haitham Al-Haddad, a cleric who defended female genital mutilation and stoning to death of adulterous women.
“Groups like CAGE use the guise of ‘freedom of speech’, ‘rule of law’ and ‘anti-racism’, but it is the commission’s view that when CAGE's activism, beliefs and behaviours are examined closely, these values are in fact a cover to legitimise their divisive activism,” Khan said.
The university publisher website describes the book, which is a collection of essays, as exploring how “writers manage to subvert expectations as part of their commitment to anti-racism”.
A CAGE spokesman said criticism of a book before publication demonstrated an “obsession with censoring opinions critical of state policies.”
A spokesman for Manchester University Press said the book was not a defence of violent criminals but an “examination of society’s expectations around an ‘appropriate’ response from innocent people of colour unconnected with extremists except for similarities of race or religion.”
He added that “The book holds that a refusal to condemn an individual or their actions cannot and should not be interpreted as support for that person or their conduct. “