On April 30, hundreds of armed protestors stormed the Michigan state capitol building in the United States. The protesters were aggressive, loud, boisterous and angry. Some may even label them “thuggish.” What were they protesting? The relatively weak and ineffective lockdown measures that were put in place in response to the COVID-19 virus.
The largely white, middle-class crowd took issue with the loss of their small businesses, the loss of civil “liberties” and what they perceive to be a growing police state. The police response to angry armed citizens taking a government building was to do nothing. They fired zero rounds, launched no tear gas canisters and not a single person was assaulted.
This past week, more protests have been taking place across the United States. This time, the protests are centered around the death of George Floyd. Floyd was a 46-year-old Black man murdered by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25. These uprisings were not nearly as heavily armed as the ones in April, but they were twice as angry. As people took to the streets, police fired tear gas, used drones and called in riot units to put down the protests.
Repression, longstanding violence against marginalized and colonized people and recent killings of Black women and men are the reasons violence occurred in Minneapolis. Police officers initiated violence when they thought they could ride around the city and murder whomever they want. Riots, looting and burning are nothing more than defensive tactics in a war waged on working class communities by U.S. police. The “offense” in this war stems from the day-to-day brutality through murder, beatings, wrongful arrests, intimidation and criminality that police afflict onto our communities.
*The views of the above article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Africa Speaks 4 Africa or its editorial team.