Men kneel during a protest outside the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa, June 8 in an anti-racism rally following the May 25 death of American George Floyd. CNS photo/Shafiek Tassiem, Reuters

Africans still seething after Floyd killing

By  Damian Avevor, Catholic News Service
  • June 17, 2020

ACCRA, Ghana -- Weeks after the death of George Floyd, the killing of the unarmed African American is still being condemned by African governments and organizations, with some describing it as an unjust murder.

Floyd’s death at the hands of a white police officer on May 25 occurred on African Union Day. It led to protests and vigils in some African countries and re-emphasized police brutalities on African immigrants and the need to condemn racism.

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo said the killing of Floyd by a white police officer “carried with it an all too painful familiarity and an ugly reminder.”

“Black people, the world over, are shocked and distraught by the killing of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, by a police officer in the United States of America,” he said in a tweet.

“We stand with our kith and kin in America in these difficult and trying times, and we hope that the unfortunate, tragic death of George Floyd will inspire a lasting change in how America confronts head on the problems of hate and racism.”

In a virtual address to the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa condemned Floyd’s murder and said he shared the anger of millions in the U.S. and across the world.

“As countries that have borne the brunt of racial discrimination over centuries, we need to work together to end the scourge of racial violence, wherever it occurs. By working together, we can build a peaceful, just, healthy and prosperous global community,” said Ramaphosa, chairman of the African Union.

Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairman of the African Union Commission, issued a statement condemning Floyd’s death “at the hands of law enforcement officers.” He reaffirmed “the African Union’s rejection of the continuing discriminatory practices against black citizens of the United States of America,” as stated 56 years ago in an Organization of African Unity Resolution on racial discrimination in America.

He urged U.S. officials to intensify efforts to ensure the total elimination of all forms of discrimination based on race or ethnic origin.

The Forum of Former African Heads of State and Government urged African countries to “raise a strong protest” to the killing and demand that the “perpetrators of this crime and all other crimes of this sort be punished in the strongest terms.”

“What level of cruelty must you reach that the entire world finally wakes up and manifests its indignation,” said a June 3 statement released by former Beninese President Nicephore Soglo.

“Who would dare here, their face visible, to treat in such a way a European, an Arab, an Israeli, an Indian, a Chinese, a Japanese, an Argentinian, etc.? Enough is enough.”

Jerry John Rawlings, Ghana’s former president, asked: “If some of these atrocities, especially from some white police officers against black citizens, cannot shock the American populace to see evidence of their own decline, what can?”

Following Floyd’s death, U.S. embassies in Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Congo issued rare statements of concern and called for justice.

Brian A. Nichols, the U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe, said, “As an African American, for as long as I can remember I have known that my rights and my body were not fully my own. I have always known that America, conceived in liberty, has always aspired to be better — a shining city on a hill — and that’s why I have dedicated my life to her service.”

“In a long unbroken line of black men and women, George Floyd gave the last full measure of devotion to point to us toward a new birth of freedom,” he added.

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