Barack Obama urges George Floyd protests to continue peacefully.
Former US President Barack Obama has condemned the violence amid the nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd, urging activists to channel their anger into ‘peaceful, sustained, and effective action’ to help bring about real change.
‘Let's not excuse violence, or rationalize it, or participate in it,’ Obama wrote, declaring his support for those protesting peacefully. ‘If we want our criminal justice system, and American society at large, to operate on a higher ethical code, then we have to model that code ourselves.’
Obama added in an essay published to medium on Monday that the ‘point of protest is to raise public awareness, to put a spotlight on injustice, and to make the powers that be uncomfortable.’
The former US President said the widespread nature of the demonstrations signifies the ‘genuine and legitimate frustration’ of the African American community over the ‘decades-long failure to reform police practices and the broader criminal justice system in the United States.’
Obama, who worked as a community organizer in Chicago before running for elected office, stressed the need to ensure that the demonstrations were orchestrated in a peaceful manner.
'The overwhelming majority of participants have been peaceful, courageous, responsible, and inspiring. They deserve our respect and support, not condemnation, Obama wrote.
However, he criticized the 'small minority of folks who’ve resorted to violence in various forms, whether out of genuine anger or mere opportunism,' for 'putting innocent people at risk, compounding the destruction of neighborhoods that are often already short on services and investment and detracting from the larger cause.'