Doha has successfully circumvented the three-year blockade by strengthening diverse ties with foreign allies.

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On June 5, 2017 Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt imposed an air, land and sea blockade on Qatar [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]
On June 5, 2017 Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt imposed an air, land and sea blockade on Qatar [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

Having managed to successfully weather a three-year blockade imposed by four of its regional neighbours, Qatar will have to continue fostering diverse foreign relationships to circumvent the blockade, to which there is still no end in sight, experts say.

Friday marks the third year anniversary of an air, land and sea blockade imposed on Qatar by fellow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain as well as non-GCC member Egypt.

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The four Arab countries claimed the blockade was imposed on Qatar for “supporting terrorism”, backing hardline movements, and for being too close to Iran.

Qatar rejected the claims and accused its neighbours of attacking its sovereignty.

The blockading states issued a list of 13 demands to be carried out in 10 days, which included downgrading diplomatic ties with Iran, closing a Turkish military base in Qatar, and shutting down Al Jazeera Media Network.

Quitting the GCC?

With no indications so far that the blockade will be lifted, there have been reports circulating recently that Qatar may quit the GCC.

Qatar’s assistant foreign minister, Lolwah al-Khater, rejected the claims last week as “incorrect and baseless”, adding “Qatar hopes the GCC will once again be a platform of cooperation and coordination.”

But closer relations with the blockading quartet are not expected anytime soon, analysts say.

Giorgio Cafiero, CEO of Gulf State Analytics, a Washington, DC-based consulting firm, told Al Jazeera it would not be surprising if Qatar leaves the GCC “not too far in the future”.

“Doha moved on from the GCC, which has become essentially a toothless and dormant institution that is not capable of serving the purpose which this institution was meant to serve when it was created in 1981,” Cafiero said.

The GCC, a political and economic alliance of six countries in the Arabian Peninsula, was initially formed to protect the bloc from threats following the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-1988.

There were moments over the past year that indicated a possible thawing of tensions.

In December 2019, following the GCC summit in Riyadh that Qatar’s then-prime minister attended, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said “small progress” had been made in resolving the dispute.

Earlier that month at the MED foreign policy conference in Rome, Sheikh Mohammed said the countries had “moved from a stalemate”.

The comments came after three blockading states participated in a regional football tournament in Qatar in November, changing their mind after initially deciding they would not take part.

Despite indications of a gradual rapprochement, Sheikh Mohammed said in February that talks to end the GCC crisis had been suspended at the beginning of January.

Imad Harb, director of research and analysis at the Washington, DC-based Arab Center, told Al Jazeera that nothing came of the positive developments in the past year “simply because Saudi Arabia and the UAE decided that they did not want to go that way”.

“Qatar is going to deal with the situation the way it is, and they will roll with the punches, as they say,” Harb said.

He added that Qatar would not leave the GCC publicly as it would then be held responsible for the collapse of the council. It would be too big of a political move, especially since Kuwait, one of Qatar’s “good friends”, was instrumental in the GCC’s creation.

Instead, Qatar will focus on increasing economic openness to different parties worldwide, Harb said.

“Their economy depends on foreign relationships, especially since they are still under a blockade and siege. So they will want to find new trading partners, importers, exporters, people to deal with them,” Harb said.

Strengthening ties

At the start of the blockade on June 5, 2017, there was initial concern that a food security crisis could unfold as Qatar’s trade was largely dependent on the Saudi border crossing and UAE ports.

However, the Qataris were successful in quickly diversifying the country’s food supply chains, preventing a food security crisis, Cafiero said.

Trade links with Turkey and Iran were strengthened. Qatar has been using Iran’s airspace and shipping routes to circumvent the blockade.

Doha has since diversified its ties in trade, defence, security and aviation with numerous countries.

Contrary to the quartet’s demands, Qatar has only grown closer to Iran and Turkey.

Between 2016 and 2017, Iranian exports to Qatar increased by 181 percent, while Iran’s Financial Tribune reported trade between Tehran and Doha had doubled in the first four months of the fiscal year 2018.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a statement that Qatar in 2018 had “successfully absorbed the shocks from the 2014-2016 drop in hydrocarbon prices and the 2017 diplomatic rift”.

Last month, the IMF said Doha was on track for another year with a surplus that will reach above 5 percent of economic output – a level only three other countries may exceed in 2020.

“It was very surprising how Qatar really weathered this,” Harb said.

“It’s not easy for a tiny little country to weather such a siege the way that Qatar did in 2017. Immediately after the start of the blockade, Qatar started to strike deals with Oman, Iran, and Kuwait and really succeeded in covering up all those deficits and the trade that used to be coming over from Saudi Arabia. They did very well at the time.”

Similarly, the blockading nations’ demand for Qatar to shut down the Turkish military base seems to have backfired. A month after issuing the ultimatum, Turkey fast-tracked legislation allowing troops to be deployed to Qatar.

Turkey has gradually increased its number of troops in the country from 150 in 2016 to 5,000 by November 2019.

Balancing the US and Iran

Despite escalating tensions between Iran and the US in the past year, Qatar has been “skilful when it comes to balancing its allies, neighbours and partners off of one another”, Cafiero said.

Initially, US President Donald Trump expressed support for the blockade in a tweet. Many expected Trump would back the quartet in attempting to force Doha to change its foreign policy.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar – look!

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But two months following the start of the blockade, during a visit by the then-US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Doha, the US and Qatar signed an agreement aimed at combating the financing of terrorism, an indication the two were cooperating closely.

“When the Trump presidency began, there were concerns that Qatar’s relationship with various Islamist actors in the region would create major problems between the Trump administration and Doha,” Cafiero said.

“And then when we saw the tweets from Donald Trump right after the blockade, those concerns seemed to be more justified.

“However, Qatar has made it clear to the Trump administration that it is an important, invaluable partner of the US, and we’ve seen this when it comes to counterterrorism, investments, and so many other domains,” Cafiero said, adding Doha and Washington have never had a stronger relationship than they do now.

Harb said the establishment of the annual Qatar-US strategic dialogue in 2018 – which advances partnerships in various sectors such as security, defence, commerce, and energy – was a move that helped Qatar weather the isolation caused by the blockade.

Going forward, Qatar’s main challenge, as a small state, is maintaining its independence in its decision-making, Harb said.

Cafiero agreed that even though Qatar has been able to maintain its sovereignty and has not been forced to capitulate in a humiliating way, the blockade continues – which is always a concern for Doha.

“I think Qatar would like to have its relations restored with the blockading states. But again, not if the price is sovereignty,” he said.

Qatar FM: 'Impulsive behaviour' is a threat to GCC stability

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Qatar FM: ‘Impulsive behaviour’ is a threat to GCC stability

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Trump sued over clearing peaceful protesters: Live updates

Lawsuit says Trump and officials ‘unlawfully conspired to violate’ demonstrators’ rights when clearing Lafayette Park.

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  • South Africa’s governing party said it is launching a “Black Friday” campaign in response to the “heinous murder” of George Floyd and “institutionalised racism” in the United States.

  • Twitter has removed President Donald Trump’s campaign tribute video to George Floyd on its platform, citing a copyright complaint.

  • Rights group the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has sued the Trump administration, claiming officials violated the civil rights of protesters.

  • Mayor of Washington, DC, called for the withdrawal from the city of military units sent from other states to deal with protesters.

  • Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office has said it will no longer enforce a curfew put in place to quell protests.

Latest updates:

Friday, June 5

15:35 GMT – Minnesota weights changes to officer-involved deaths

Minnesota’s county attorneys want to give the state attorney general the authority to handle all cases of police-involved deaths.

The Minnesota County Attorneys Association voted Thursday in transferring that power during an emergency meeting, which included Attorney General Keith Ellison.

Ellison is leading the state’s case against the four police officers involved in George Floyd’s death instead of the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.

State lawmakers would need to pass legislation during this month’s special session to give the attorney general the ongoing authority.

“If this is the path the Legislature and governor choose to take, my office will accept the responsibility,” Ellison said. “But it must come with resources sufficient to do the job thoroughly and to do justice in the way Minnesotans have a right to expect.”

14:38 GMT – Calls to clarify unidentified law enforcement in DC continue

Activists and politicians called on Trump to idenfifiy which law enforcement agencies were deployed across DC in response to protests against police brutality.

Law enforcement facing down demonstrators were seen without identification, including badges or names, across the protests.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote a letter on Thursday asking Trump to clarify which agencies were present at the protests.

“I am writing to request a full list of the agencies involved and clarifications of the roles and responsibilities of the troops and federal law enforcement resources operating in the city. Congress and the American people need to know who is in charge, what is the chain of command, what is the mission, and by what authority is the National Guard from other states operating in the capital,” she wrote.

12:45 GMT – UK embassy raises US protests with Trump administration

Britain’s embassy in Washington, DC has raised the issue of continuing protests in the US with the Trump administration, including the treatment of British journalists by police, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

“Our embassy in the US has raised the issue of the protests with the US administration – including on behalf of British journalists who were subject to police action,” the spokesman told reporters.

10:50 GMT – South Africa launches ‘Black Friday’ in response to ‘heinous murder’

South Africa’s governing party said it is launching a “Black Friday” campaign in response to the “heinous murder” of George Floyd and “institutionalised racism” in the US, at home, in China and “wherever it rears its ugly head”. 

A statement by the African National Congress said President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday evening will address the launch of the campaign that calls on people to wear black on Fridays in solidarity. 

The campaign is also meant to highlight “deaths by citizens at the hands of security forces” in South Africa, which remains one of the world’s most unequal countries a quarter-century after the end of the racist system of apartheid. 

“The demon of racism remains a blight on the soul of our nation,” the ANC statement said.

08:40 GMT – Players send video message to NFL about racial inequality

Patrick Mahomes, Saquon Barkley and Michael Thomas are among more than a dozen National Football League stars who united to send a passionate video message to the NFL about racial inequality.

The 70-second video was released on social media platforms on Thursday night and includes Odell Beckham Jr, Deshaun Watson, Ezekiel Elliott, Jamal Adams, Stephon Gilmore and DeAndre Hopkins, among others. 

Thomas, the New Orleans Saints wide receiver who has led the league in receptions the past two seasons, opens the video with the statement: “It’s been 10 days since George Floyd was brutally murdered.” The players then take turns asking, “What if I was George Floyd?”

The players then name several of the Black men and women who have recently been killed, including Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Eric Garner. 

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07:05 GMT – Australia: NSW files suit to stop Black Lives Matter protest

Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, has lodged a legal application to stop a Black Lives Matter protest in Sydney, state Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Friday.

Thousands of people have pledged to attend a protest organised in Sydney on Saturday following the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man.

The organisers had secured permission for the protest as they originally planned to have fewer than 500 people. But Berejiklian said when it became clear that thousands planned to attend, the legal application was made to the state’s Supreme Court.

06:35 GMT – Twitter pulls down Trump video tribute to Floyd over copyright

Twitter has disabled President Trump’s campaign tribute video to Floyd on its platform, citing a copyright complaint.

The clip, which is a collation of photos and videos of protest marches and instances of violence in the aftermath of Floyd’s death, has Trump speaking in the background.

“We respond to valid copyright complaints sent to us by a copyright owner or their authorised representatives,” a Twitter representative said.

The 03:45-minute video uploaded on Trump’s YouTube channel was tweeted by his campaign on June 3.

The clip, which is still on YouTube, had garnered more than 60,000 views and 13,000 likes. 

05:34 GMT – South Korea activists demand justice

Dozens of protesters gathered in the South Korean capital of Seoul to condemn police brutality in the US and demand justice for Floyd’s death.

Announcing a joint statement in front of the downtown US Embassy, members of human rights groups and other participants also called for South Korea’s government to make a statement against the “racial discrimination and state violence” of its ally.

South Korea Floyd protest
South Korean protesters at an anti-racism rally near the US embassy in Seoul on June 5, 2020 [Jung Yeon-je / AFP]

They said South Korea should also address its own problems with racial discrimination and urged the government to push for an anti-discrimination law, which had been resisted by conservatives and church groups for years, to improve the lives of migrant workers, undocumented foreigners and other minorities.

“As the US civil society empowered and stood in solidarity with Korean pro-democracy activists in the past, we will now stand in solidarity with citizens in the United States,” said activist Lee Sang-hyun, referring to South Koreans’ bloody struggles against military dictatorships that ruled the country until the late 1980s.

“In remembering George Floyd, we also wish to eliminate discrimination in South Korea’s society,” Lee said, reading out a statement.

South Korea Floyd
Protesters held a banner that read ‘Justice for Floyd’ and some brought flowers in his honour [Jung Yeon-je / AFP]

05:15 GMT – Australians urged to stay away from Black Lives Matter protest

Scott Morrison, the prime minister of Australia, urged people not to attend Black Lives Matter protests that are expected to take place in major cities this weekend citing concern over the possible spread of the coronavirus at the gatherings.

Organisers expect thousands of people to attend rallies in Sydney, Melbourne and other cities that aim to focus attention on Australia’s poor record on police treatment of Indigenous people.

The protests have split opinion, with some state police and legislators approving the action despite the health risks. Morrison said people should find other ways to express their anger.

“The health advice is very clear, it’s not a good idea to go,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra. “Let’s find a better way and another way to express these sentiments … let’s exercise our liberties responsibly.”

Read more here.

05:06 GMT – Man who charged New York protesters with knife claw arrested

A man seen on video charging protesters in New York while wearing a glove with four long, serrated-edged blades surrendered to authorities, the Queens district attorney said.

People were peacefully gathering on the overpass above the Cross Island Parkway when Frank Cavalluzzi, 54, jumped out of a vehicle on Tuesday afternoon, shouting “I will kill you,” and chasing protesters while wearing the knife-claw glove, a press release from the office of District Attorney Melinda Katz said.

He then got back into his vehicle and drove on a pavement, nearly running over the demonstrators, the release said.

Cavalluzzi turned himself in on Thursday morning and was arraigned on charges of second-degree attempted murder, multiple degrees of attempted assault, reckless endangerment and other offences.

“In a burst of anger and rage, this defendant allegedly sought to kill protesters who were peacefully assembled and exercising their right to free speech,” Katz said, adding that it was “amazing” no one was injured.

02:45 GMT – Two police officers suspended for pushing a protester in New York

Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood has ordered the immediate suspension of the two officers involved in a video showing them pushing a man after a protest in Niagara Square. Local media reported that the man in the video was taken to the hospital.

Warning: Graphic video

Julián Castro

@JulianCastro

GRAPHIC: Buffalo police shove a peaceful elderly man to the ground, he hits his head, goes unconscious and starts bleeding out. The police do nothing to help.

These officers must be fired and charged.

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01:30 GMT – New York Times says senator’s op-ed did not meet standards

The New York Times said a controversial op-ed it published by Republican Senator Tom Cotton – an op-ed that advocated the use of federal troops to quell demonstrations – did not meet its standards.

The Times reported that it had reviewed how Cotton’s Send in the Troops editorial came to be published online and in the paper. “This review made clear that a rushed editorial process led to the publication of an Op-Ed that did not meet our standards,” a Times spokeswoman said in a statement.

The decision came after a day of protests by Times staffers who believed the editorial was insensitive amid nationwide protests after last week’s death of George Floyd.

00:40 GMT – 8:46: A number that became a potent symbol of police brutality

All protest movements have slogans. George Floyd’s has a number: 8:46.

Eight minutes, 46 seconds – that’s the length of time prosecutors say Floyd was pinned to the ground under a white Minneapolis police officer’s knee before he died last week.

In the days since, outraged protesters, politicians and mourners have seized on the detail as a quiet way to honour Floyd. Even as prosecutors have said little about how they arrived at the precise number, it has fast grown into a potent symbol of the suffering Floyd – and many other Black men – have experienced at the hands of police.

Boston protest
Demonstrators lie face down depicting George Floyd during his detention by police during a protest against police brutality in Boston Common in Boston, Massachusetts [Steven Senne/AP Photo]

Demonstrators this week laid down on streets staging “die-ins” for precisely eight minutes, 46 seconds.

In Washington, Democratic senators gathered in the US Capitol’s Emancipation Hall, some standing, some kneeling on the marbled floor for the nearly nine minutes of silence.

Mourners at a memorial service for Floyd in Minneapolis stood in silence for eight minutes and 46 seconds, as they were asked by the Reverend Al Sharpton to “think about what George was going through, laying there for those eight minutes, begging for his life”.

Read more here.

00:20 GMT – Downtown Detroit to be lit purple

Starting Thursday night, the buildings of downtown Detroit, Michigan, will be lit purple in honour of George Floyd and all those whose lives were tragically cut short by injustice, violence and police brutality, the city’s municipality announced in a press release.

The effort will go through June 9, the day of Floyd’s funeral in Houston. Detroiters will also hold a silent vigil in front of their homes on Sunday night.

“The idea to light the city and host a citywide vigil came to me in recognition of the deep pain and brokenness we are all feeling, especially our black community, in light of George Floyd’s murder,” councilmember Raquel Castaneda Lopez said. “Too many black and brown lives have been lost to violence and police brutality, perpetuating the trauma these communities have experienced for generations,” she said.

Thursday, June 4

23:35 GMT – Floyd-inspired protests erupt in Mexico

Anger built in Mexico over its own police brutality case: a young man allegedly beaten to death after officers detained him for not wearing a face mask during the coronavirus pandemic.

𝓐𝓷𝓭𝓪𝓵𝓪𝓵𝓾𝓬𝓱𝓪@Andalalucha

The protests have inspired people in Mexico to call out murders at the hands of the police. Last month in Jalisco, police detained Giovanni Lopéz because he wasn’t wearing a face mask. They beat him. He died in police custody. People now demand

View image on Twitter
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An online campaign to bring Giovanni Lopez’s killers to justice has drawn support from celebrities like filmmaker Guillermo del Toro and actress Salma Hayek.

The hashtag #JusticeForGiovanni was gaining traction on Thursday.

Authorities in the western state of Jalisco have said that Lopez was detained May 4 in a town near the city of Guadalajara for a misdemeanor equivalent to disturbing the peace or resisting arrest.

Sergio Beltrán-García@ssbeltran

COPS MURDERED GIOVANNI

Giovanni López, 30yo day laborer arrested for not wearing a mask, criminalised by cops and brutally beaten to death bc he belongs to the Mexican racialized underclass.

ACAB EVERYWHERE

http://animalpolitico.com/2020/06/giovan 

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A video of his detention shows municipal police wrestling him into a patrol truck as residents argued with officers about excessive use of force and rules requiring face masks, a measure designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Hours later, Lopez was taken from his cell for medical treatment and died.

23:00 GMT – Rights groups sue Trump over clearing of peaceful protesters

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued the administration of US President Donald Trump, alleging that officials violated the civil rights of protesters who were forcefully removed from a park near the White House by police using chemical agents before Trump walked to a nearby church to take a photo.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court, comes as Attorney General William Barr defended the decision to forcefully remove the peaceful protesters, saying it was necessary to protect officers and federal property.

Protestors are tear gassed as the police disperse them near the White House on June 1, 2020 as demonstrations against George Floyd's death continue. Police fired tear gas outside the White House late
Police on horseback dispersing protesters demonstrating against the death of George Floyd near the White House on June 1, 2020 [Roberto Schmidt/AFP]

The suit argues that Trump, Barr and other officials “unlawfully conspired to violate” the protesters’ rights when clearing Lafayette Park on Monday. Law enforcement officers aggressively forced the protesters back, firing smoke bombs and pepper balls into the crowd to disperse them from the park.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the group Black Lives Matter DC and individual protesters who were present. It is filed by the ACLU of DC, Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the law firm of Arnold & Porter.

22:50 GMT – Man who aimed bow and arrow at protesters arrested

A US man captured on video aiming a bow and arrow at protesters in Salt Lake City, Utah over the weekend was charged with assault and weapon possession.

Brandon McCormick was charged with possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, as well as aggravated assault and threatening or using a dangerous weapon in a fight or quarrel.

He was reportedly pushed to the ground on Saturday after pointing the bow and arrow at people protesting the death of George Floyd at the hands of police. People then flipped over his car and set it on fire.

22:00 GMT – National Guard faces ‘tremendous challenge’ in DC: Tennessee governor

Tennessee National Guard troops face a “tremendous challenge” as they head to the nation’s capital at the request of President Donald Trump to help quell protests, Governor Bill Lee told troops.

“You’ve been called upon to protect the rights, the freedoms, and the privileges that Americans have to peacefully protest – to exercise their First Amendment rights in a way that they feel safe, and therefore, they can be heard,” Lee said before the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment boarded a C-17 military transport plane headed to Washington, DC.

“But you’ve also been called up to protect the lives and the property … against those who hijack peaceful protests and turn them into violent riots. Balancing that protection is a tremendous challenge,” the Republican continued.

Tennessee is one of several states to send National Guard troops to Washington. Roughly 1,000 Tennessee troops are expected to be in Washington no later than Saturday. However, at least three states with Democratic governors – New York, Virginia and Delaware – have so far rejected the request.

The Trump administration asked multiple states to send troops to Washington at the same time as the president recently criticised many governors as “weak” for not using the National Guard more aggressively in their own states.

20:15 GMT – Wisconsin governor defends decision to deploy National Guard

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers defended his decision to deploy the Wisconsin National Guard to help police control protests over George Floyd’s death.

Evers told reporters during a conference call that he deployed the Guard to protect property in Madison, including the state Capitol building, and utilities in Milwaukee. If the troops actively intervened, they did so at the direction of local authorities, he said.

Evers said Thursday the protests are a watershed opportunity to fix systemic racism. He encouraged people to demonstrate lawfully.

“First Amendment rights are not to be trampled in this state or any other state,” Evers said. “Those who decide to do damage are damaging the First Amendment and they’re damaging the opportunity for thousands of people across Wisconsin to exercise that First Amendment right.”

19:53 GMT – An eight-minute silence held as memorial ends

In Minneapolis, Minnesota, where George Floyd died, Reverand Al Sharpton cut into a session of religious music to start an eight-minute silence to honour Floyd, who was held down by Chauvin’s knee for eight minutes and 46 seconds.

Sharpton called actress Tiffany Haddish and Gwen Carr, Eric Garner’s mother, to stand next to him during the silence. Garner died in 2014 after a police officer put him in a chokehold. In his last moments, he could be heard saying: “I can’t breathe.”

Haddish was joined in attendance by other celebrities including actors, musicians, activists and politicians. Kevin Hart, Ludacris, TI, Tyrese Gibson, Master P, Reverend Jesse Jackson and Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar were all at the memorial service.

Read more here.

19:23 GMT – ‘Get your knee off our neck’ – Al Sharpton

Reverend Al Sharpton gave the eulogy at Floyd’s memorial in Minneapolis. He said it wasn’t a “normal” funeral and Floyd didn’t die of natural causes.

“He died of a common American criminal justice malfunction”, Sharpton said.

“There has not been the corrective behaviour that has taught this country that if you commit a crime, it does not matter whether you wear blue jeans or a blue uniform, you must pay for the crime you had committed.”, he continued.

Sharpton said he eulogised Eric Garner, another Black man who was killed by police officers and whose final words were “I can’t breathe”.  What happened to men like Floyd and Garner “happens every day” in the US, through institutional racism, Sharpton said.

“We were smarter than the underfunded schools you put us in, but you had your knee on our neck. We had creative skills, we could do whatever anybody else could do, but we couldn’t get your knee off our neck.”

Calling for change, Sharpton said it’s “time to stand up in George’s name … and say get your knee off our necks”.

19:11 GMT – ‘What we saw was torture’

Benjamin Crump, the lawyer for Floyd’s family, started his address to the Minneapolis memorial service with a quote from Dr Martin Luther King Jr: “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

Crump, who yesterday celebrated the elevation of charges against former police officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck – along with charges for the three other cops involved – said that what people saw in the video of Floyd’s death was “torture”.

Crump called on people to protest the injustice committed against Floyd and against other members of the African-American community.

“We cannot cooperate with evil,” he said. “We cannot cooperate with injustice. We cannot cooperate with torture. Because George Floyd deserved better than that.”

18:58 GMT – There will be justice: Philonise Floyd

Philonise Floyd, George’s brother, told mourners at his memorial that George was like “a general” and that people wanted to follow him.

Philonise described his brother as a man who made people feel “like the president”. He said people “wanted to greet him” and “wanted to have fun with him.”

Philonise ended his remarks by saying “everybody want justice, we want justice for George. He’s going to get it.”

18:00 GMT – Hundreds to attend Minneapolis memorial

Hundreds are expected to attend on Thursday the first of several planned memorials for George Floyd, an unarmed Black man killed by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota last month.

The Minneapolis event will kick off a week of services to honour Floyd, whose death on May 25, captured on video, set off protests across the United States, and worldwide.

Read more.

17:45 GMT – DC mayor says out-of-state troops should leave US capital

The mayor of Washington, DC, on Thursday called for the withdrawal from the US capital of military units sent from other states to deal with protests against police brutality and racism.

“We want troops from out of state out of Washington DC,” Mayor Muriel Bowser told a news conference.

17:00 GMT – Protesters should ‘highly consider’ getting COVID-19 tests

Protesters – particularly in cities that have struggled to control the novel coronavirus – should “highly consider” getting tested for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, a top US health official said on Thursday.

“Those individuals that have partaken in these peaceful protests or have been out protesting, and particularly if they’re in metropolitan areas that really haven’t controlled the outbreak … we really want those individuals to highly consider being evaluated and get tested,” Robert Redfield, director for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told a US House of Representatives committee.

US: Thousands gather in DC to protest Floyd’s death
 Thousands of peaceful demonstrators holding banners gather in front of the White House to protest the death of George Floyd [Yasin Öztürk/Anadoulu]

Redfield also said the World Health Organization (WHO) continues to be a close colleague in public health efforts. US President Donald Trump said on Friday that the US will end its relationship with the WHO over the body’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

17:00 GMT – Republican senator ‘struggling’ over whether to back Trump in election

US Senator Lisa Murkowski, a Republican, said on Thursday that she is struggling over whether she can support President Donald Trump’s re-election bid, saying criticism of Trump’s response to nationwide protests by former Defense Secretary James Mattis rang true.

Asked if she supported Trump, a fellow Republican who faces the nation’s voters again in November, she said, “I am struggling with it. I have struggled with it for a long time.”

“He is our duly elected president. I will continue to work with him … but I think right now as we are all struggling to find ways to express the words that need to be expressed appropriately,” Murkowski added.

16:48 GMT – LA County Sheriff’s office will no long enforce curfew

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office said on Twitter that it will no longer enforce a curfew put in place to quell protests.

“Based upon current situational awareness and the recent pattern of peaceful actions by protesters, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (@LASDHQ) will no longer enforce a curfew,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva tweeted. “Other jurisdictions are free to make their own decisions.”

Other jurisdictions are free to make their own decisions.

____________________________________________________________________

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the protests in the US over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This is Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath in Louisville, Kentucky, Creede Newton in Washington, DC, and Lucien Formichella in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Here are a few things to catch up on:

  • George Floyd, an unarmed 46-year-old Black man, died on May 25 after a white officer used his knee to pin Floyd’s neck to the ground for nearly nine minutes. Floyd can be heard on a bystander video repeatedly pleading with officers, saying: “I can’t breathe.” He eventually lies motionless with the officer’s knee still on his neck. You can read about the deadly incident here.
  • The four officers involved in the incident were fired, and all have been charged.
  • Protests – some violent – have since erupted nationwide as demonstrators rally for justice for Floyd and all unarmed Black people killed by police.

See the updates from Tuesday’s protests here.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

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