The violent protests following the George Floyd murder has exposed the Donald Trump-led US administration to a barrage of criticism and trolls. The world is relishing the opportunity to remind ‘Uncle Sam’ that scathing criticism can flow both ways
The civil unrest that spread across the US following the death of George Floyd - a black man who died after a white police officer pressed his knee on his neck until he stopped breathing – has exposed the Donald Trump-led US administration to a barrage of criticism and trolls from around the globe.
From the US being described as a 'failed state' to Trump being described as a 'looter', to China hitting back at the US for its earlier criticism of Hong Kong protests, Trump – whose handling of the situation so far has been appalling – is increasingly finding himself cornered. Ironically and rather succinctly, for about an hour on May 29, Trump was literally hiding in a bunker when the protests intensified.
Although police brutality on black people is no new thing in the US, the killing of Floyd on May 25 in Minnesota has sparked worldwide reactions and expressions of solidarity with the demonstrators.
The world is also relishing the opportunity to remind 'Uncle Sam' that scathing criticism can flow both ways.
Thousands of protesters demonstrated at Trafalgar Square in central London on Sunday violating a government issued ban on crowds due to the pandemic. Protesters waved placards and chanted slogans. Police refrained from dispersing the crowd.
Protesters marched to US embassies in Denmark, Germany and UK. They carried signs with "Stop Killing Black People," "Hold Cops Accountable," "Who Do You Call When Police Murder," etc. written on them.
Germany's Build newspaper carried a sensational headline that pinned all the blame on the police officer Derek Chauvin, who has been charged with third-degree murder in Floyd's death, for the violent protests taking place in the US.
"This killer-cop set America ablaze," the headline says. The story reported scenes which, in its language, looked like out of a civil war.
Countries often criticised by the US for their poor human rights records have seized this opportunity to highlight the chaos and violence of the demonstrations that spread across major US cities.
Iran's state-run television has also repeatedly shown pictures of the civil unrest. TV anchors discussed in details how US law enforcing agencies "attacked" protesters in New York and Washington.
Chinese foreign ministry officials and state media have trolled Trump administration over the violent protests and looting that took place in US cities, clearly in response to criticisms from Washington over Beijing's actions to quell unrest in Hong Kong.
Posting a screenshot of US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus's tweet in which she had urged people around the world to hold Chinese Communist Party to account over its treatment of Hong Kong, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying tweeted "I can't breathe," the last words uttered by Floyd before he died.
According to a Bloomberg report, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said in a commentary, "US politicians call riots in other countries 'a beautiful sight,' they ignite flames everywhere and wish the world to be in chaos".
"But when the minority groups in their own country are fighting for legitimate rights, they cannot wait but to crackdown harshly. Such hypocritical double standards are truly disgusting."
Hu Xijin, the editor of the Global Times, a tabloid run by the Chinese Communist Party, took to Twitter to ridicule Trump and other senior US politicians who previously encouraged the protests in Hong Kong.
He wrote, "The 'beautiful sight' defined by US politicians has eventually extended from Hong Kong to the US. Now they can witness it by their home windows. I want to ask Speaker Pelosi and Secretary Pompeo: Should Beijing support protests in the US, like you glorified rioters in Hong Kong?"
With the tweet, he posted a photo which is apparently a screenshot of CNN's website showing multiple pictures of violent protests with names of major US cities written on them.
In another tweet, Hu Xijin wrote, "I highly suspect that Hong Kong rioters have infiltrated American states. Attacking police stations, smashing shops, blocking roads, breaking public facilities, these are all routine in their protests. Vicious HK rioters obviously are mastermind of violent protests across the US."
The global criticism mirrors in many aspects an article published in the Washington Post satirizing US reaction to political events in other countries, titled "How Western media would cover Minneapolis if it happened in another country". The author, Karen Attiah, writes a fictionalised account of the Western media covering the US protests and opens with:
"In recent years, the international community has sounded the alarm on the deteriorating political and human rights situation in the United States under the regime of Donald Trump. Now, as the country marks 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic, the former British colony finds itself in a downward spiral of ethnic violence. The fatigue and paralysis of the international community are evident in its silence, experts say."
Bangladesh, meanwhile, joined the bandwagon as well.
Sajeeb Wazed Joy, the ICT affairs adviser to, and the son of Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also took to social media to criticize US policy. Sharing a CNN report showing police arresting CNN's Omar Jimenez on live television broadcast from a protest site in Minneapolis, Sajeeb wrote on Facebook, "US police arresting a CNN reporter live on TV while reporting. I would like a comment about freedom of speech from the US and UK embassies in Dhaka now!"
Earlier, Sajeeb posted another report showing a video of the cop kneeling on Floyd's neck and wrote, "This is a routine occurrence in America. US police kill unarmed citizens on an almost daily basis with excessive force. The US Embassy in Dhaka should present a count of all US citizens killed by US police every year with their annual report."
As violent protests spread across the US, at least 40 cities have imposed curfews, which were violated. In some places, protesters clashed with the police. In others, officers joined the protest. According to a CNN report, a police officer in New York City was seen taking a knee in front of a heart drawn on a wall during a rally for Floyd.
In New Jersey, Police Chief Joe Wysocki joined demonstrators holding a sign that read "Standing in Solidarity." In Spokane County in Washington state, an entire line of officers kneeled as they faced protesters.