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Joe Biden issues emotional plea calling for an end to riots: ‘We are a nation enraged’

‘The act of protesting should never be allowed to overshadow the reason we protest’

Chris Riotta
New York
Monday 01 June 2020 01:06 BST
Joe Biden: 'None of us any longer can hear the words ‘I can’t breathe’ and do nothing'
Joe Biden: 'None of us any longer can hear the words ‘I can’t breathe’ and do nothing' (AP)

The former vice president, Joe Biden, has called for an end to the violent riots and looting, which were sparked by major demonstrations throughout the United States over the death of George Floyd, in an emotional new statement.

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee posted a lengthy message to his Medium page during the weekend titled “We are a nation furious at injustice”.

In it, Mr Biden suggested he supported protests against the death of Mr Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed black man who died after a white police officer in Minneapolis restrained him for more than eight minutes by kneeling on his neck as he pleaded for air, according to charging documents.

However, the former vice president noted that “burning down communities and needless destruction” was not a “necessary” form of protest.

“These last few days have laid bare that we are a nation furious at injustice,” Mr Biden began. “Every person of conscience can understand the rawness of the trauma people of colour experience in this country, from the daily indignities to the extreme violence, like the horrific killing of George Floyd.”

The former vice president continued: “Protesting such brutality is right and necessary. It’s an utterly American response. But burning down communities and needless destruction is not. Violence that endangers lives is not. Violence that guts and shutters businesses that serve the community is not.”

“The act of protesting should never be allowed to overshadow the reason we protest,” he added. “It should not drive people away from the just cause that protest is meant to advance.”

Protests erupted in at least 30 US cities during the weekend, with many of those demonstrations devolving into violent riots and looting.

Confrontations between protestors and the police have went viral, showing officers in New York driving through crowds of demonstrators with SUVs and officers kneeling on the necks of multiple suspected looters while making arrests in just two examples from the weekend riots.

The protests come amid several other recent examples of excessive police force that led to unarmed black people being killed across the country, including the death of Breonna Taylor. Protestors have said they are demonstrating against the consistent use of excessive force against minority communities.

“Tonight, I ask all of America to join me – not in denying our pain or covering it over – but using it to compel our nation across this turbulent threshold into the next phase of progress, inclusion, and opportunity for our great democracy,” Mr Biden said. “We are a nation in pain, but we must not allow this pain to destroy us. We are a nation enraged, but we cannot allow our rage to consume us. We are a nation exhausted, but we will not allow our exhaustion to defeat us.”

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