Look at this scene that is happening in the US now:
Does anyone still remember that the US currently has the highest number of COVID-19 cases, with over 1.8 million cases and 105k deaths?
Well, it seems like over in the US, everyone’s talking about SpaceX’s first flight that brings humans to space, George Floyd and the protests that follow.
COVID-19? What’s that?
Everything About the Protests in the US That’s Still Ongoing Now
Before anything, you need to know about the George Floyd incident that serves as the catalyst for the protests.
For more information about the case, click here.
If not, here’s a brief recap: a black man, George Floyd, died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for more than 8 minutes.
Images and videos of the incident has spread even faster than the coronavirus, and people aren’t happy.
And soon, shit hits the fan.
A day after the incident, the first protest happened; hundreds of people marched to the MPD 3rd Precinct police station, where the officer was from, to demonstrate their frustration with the Minneapolis police.
It didn’t end well; there was some violence between protestors and the police.
The next day, on 27 May 2020, more people protested outside more police stations. But why, you ask. Why protest in other police stations when they’re protesting against one officer?
There’s because unlike Singapore whereby our cops are always polite and definitely not racist, it’s a tad different in the US. Some officers are accused of racial discrimination and police brutality, and there have been incidents whereby officers mishandled cases when the acts are committed by black people.
That was what sparked the Black Lives Matter movement.
And so, on that day, it went out of control: a Target store (a department store) was looted by over 100 people and a man died after being shot for being accused of burglarising a pawnshop.
In other words, it literally escalated fast.
The next day, a state of emergency was declared in Minneapolis…the, erm epicentre of the protests.
By then, the protests have got worse; videos online show protestors attacking protestors, protesters attacking policemen and policemen attacking protesters.
Here, take a look for yourself:
Needless to say, it’d remind you of another protest.
On the day that the officer involved in the George Floyd was charged with murder, it didn’t pacify the protests; instead, it got more serious.
The Governor said that 80% of people causing destruction and lighting fires could be from outside the state, but a report stated that it should only be 20%.
Over 4,100 National Guard troops (think of them as reservist soldiers that report to both the state and the federal government) have been deployed to the state, and it’ll increase to 10,800 today to maintain order in the state.
Protests In other Parts of the Country as Well
Just like the coronavirus, the protests have spread to other states, too, albeit with less violence.
Most of the protests elsewhere comprise tens to hundreds of people, with some peaceful while others disruptive.
Peaceful protests are legal in the US, though gathering together might not be, depending on the state, as there are safe-distancing rules in place for COVID-19.
Other Countries’ Responses
Over in Canada, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for Canada stand against racial discrimination, and that Canadians watching the police violence in the United States are in “shock and horror”.
China issued an alert to Chinese citizens in the United States, telling them “to closely monitor the local security situation, stay alert to police notices over demonstrations, protests and possible riots and avoid travelling to dangerous areas” and that “Chinese citizens operating stores and shops should remain vigilant and step up security measures.”
Iran, the country we thought that we would be reading about a lot at the beginning of the year, unsurprisingly took sides and said “the voices of the protesters must be heard … (and) the repression of suffering Americans must be stopped immediately.”
As for the United Nations, UN Human Rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, has condemned the George Floyd incident, and urged American authorities to take “serious action” to stop the killings of unarmed minorities.
As of time of writing, Trump hasn’t made any drastic action yet except to send some tweets.
2020 will indeed go down in history as one of the worst years ever.