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ANC urges Cyril Ramaphosa to engage US over racial police brutality

Published Jun 2, 2020


Pretoria - The African National Congress (ANC) on Tuesday said it was concerned about the numerous incidents of police brutality in the US, particularly against African Americans.

Following days of riots, rampage and protests in numerous US cities following the May 25 murder of African American George Floyd by Minnesota police, which was captured on video, the ANC on Tuesday called for calm across the US.

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“The African National Congress calls for calm in the United States of America following widespread riots ignited by the death of George Floyd and other black Americans in the hands of police. We also call on all Americans and their government to seek an amicable solution to the current racial impasse,” ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe said.

“While we note the action taken by American authorities in charging one of the officers who was caught on camera kneeling on an unarmed Floyd, it is equally concerning that incidents of police brutality against African American citizens are on the increase. The cascade of recent cases – Ahmaud Arbery (who was) jogging while black, Breonna Taylor (who was) sleeping while black and Floyd encountering police while black – has sharpened the focus on inescapable realities that American society places a perilously low value on black lives.” 

Mabe said the Black Lives Matter movement, formed in 2013, has highlighted the scourge of racial killings in the US by organising marches and demonstrations in response to the killings of black men and women by the police. 

“It is deplorable that almost 70 years since racial segregation was abolished in America, people of colour are still routinely slaughtered for the colour of their skin. The ANC fought and defeated racial supremacy and will not be cowed to remain silent in the face of the lynching of black people wherever they manifest,” he said. 

The ANC on Tuesday appealed to President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is also the current chairman of the African Union (AU), to engage the US authorities in a bid to diffuse tensions in the global economic powerhouse and to assist in building social cohesion among Americans. 

“We urge our government, led by President Cyril Ramaphosa, to engage with the American government through established diplomatic channels to diffuse racial tensions and build social cohesion among different races,” said the ANC national spokesperson. 

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On Saturday the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said it was saddened by the ruthless murder of Floyd.

"The effective lynching of George Floyd presents a perverted culture of anti-black racism that is perpetuated by law enforcement in the US, " the EFF said.

"Floyd joins the likes of Sandra Bland, Michael Brown and the 12-year-old Tamir Rice in a long list of black people who have been victims of unwarranted and racially inspired police killings. Although African American males constitute only 2% of the population in the US, an unarmed African American male is four times more likely to be shot than an unarmed white male."

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The party added that the criminalisation of the black male in the US, who constitutes a racial minority, has a long history and is entrenched in the legislative, judicial and cultural fabric of the country. 

It said that it welcomed the arrest of Derek Chauvin, the officer who pinned Floyd to the ground. Chauvin has since been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

The EFF also condemned US President Donald Trump's public declaration of hate and violence. 

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"Donald Trump sits at the helm of this broken society and represents a modern-day slave master who would instruct the killing of any political dissent within his plantation. Trump targets those who demand justice for Floyd, labelling them as thugs and deploying the army to shoot as a means of returning things to order, " the EFF said in the statement.

The party led by Julius Malema called on Ramaphosa to immediately convene a meeting with representatives of the US in South Africa and call for an end to the deployment of the military in Minneapolis against protesters. 

African News Agency/ANA

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