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Former US President Barack Obama CONDEMNS violence at George Floyd protests
June 2, 2020
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The protests have been increasing in size and aggression over the past week. It started with the killing of George Floyd in police custody on May 25.
The Former US President weighed in on the recent events, condemning the use of violence at nationwide protests over racial inequities and excessive police force.
The two term Democrat President also praising the actions of peaceful protesters seeking change.
Obama wrote in an online essay posted on Medium that the vast majority of protesters have been peaceful, but a “small minority” were putting people at risk and harming the very communities the protests are intended to help.
Obama said the violence was “compounding the destruction of neighborhoods that are often already short on services and investment and detracting from the larger cause.”
Obama’s latest remarks came three days after his first comments on the Floyd case, which called for justice but did not mention the violent nature of some protests.
His shift in tone on Monday came as some protesters have set fires, smashed windows and looted stores, forcing mayors in large cities to impose nighttime curfews.
During Obama’s tenure as president, he dealt with civil unrest in cities such as Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, where there were widespread, sometimes violent, protests over the deaths of young black men at the hands of the police.
In both cases, Obama was critical of the violence, saying they hindered efforts to curb police misconduct.
In his Medium essay, Obama urged protesters not to be cynical about politics, arguing that electing new leaders on the national and local levels would bring about change.
He said: “I’ve heard some suggest that the recurrent problem of racial bias in our criminal justice system proves that only protests and direct action can bring about change, and that voting and participation in electoral politics is a waste of time.
“I couldn’t disagree more.
“The point of protest is to raise public awareness, to put a spotlight on injustice, and to make the powers that be uncomfortable; in fact, throughout American history, it’s often only been in response to protests and civil disobedience that the political system has even paid attention to marginalised communities.
“But eventually, aspirations have to be translated into specific laws and institutional practices — and in a democracy, that only happens when we elect government officials who are responsive to our demands.”
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On Sunday, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, who served as Obama’s vice president, also called for an end to the violence.
Biden said in a statement: “Protesting such brutality is right and necessary.
“But burning down communities and needless destruction is not.”
Biden also met with community leaders at a predominantly African American church in his hometown to address the outrage and protests surrounding George Floyd’s death on Monday.
Largely avoiding politics since he left office in 2017, Obama recently has been critical of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
In response, Donald Trump has been stoking the fires of a conspiracy called ‘Obamagate’, where he attributes the firing of General Michael Flynn to improper intervention from the former president.
In a rose garden speech at the White House on Monday, Trump said: “I am taking immediate presidential action to stop the violence and restore security and safety in America.
“I am mobilising all federal resources, civilian and military to stop the rioting and looting, to end the destruction and arson, and to protect the rights of law-abiding Americans, including your second amendment rights.
“Therefore, the following measures are going into effect immediately.”